Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today secured the transfer of seven C-130 air tankers for Cal Fire to use fighting wildfires. Senator Feinstein included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to transfer the aircraft from the federal government to California.
“Wildfire poses a serious threat to California’s families and businesses,” said Senator Feinstein. “Rising global temperatures are increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires in our state. Adding seven C-130 Coast Guard aircraft will enhance Cal Fire’s ability to swiftly and safely put out wildfires, helping protect our brave firefighters and the communities they serve.”
“These additional large capacity aircraft will provide another tool to combat the extreme wildfire threat in California,” said Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott. “Cal Fire is grateful for the bipartisan support and the transfer of the aircraft through National Defense Authorization Act.”
Cal Fire’s current fleet consists of 50 aircraft, including 23 S2-T air tankers. Additional aircraft are needed because five years of historic drought has created conditions that are increasing the severity of wildfires in California.
Last year was the worst wildfire season on record for California. More than 9,500 fires burned throughout the state, burning more than 1.2 million acres, destroying more than 10,800 structures and killing 46 people. This year already, more than 4,000 wildfires have burned at least 144,000 acres throughout the state.