Every year, without fail, the wildfires start and the calls to bring back the venerable Martin Mars water bomber begin anew.
But, the BC Wildfire Service says it uses specific aircraft for specific purposes and firefighting tactics have changed since the giant Mars flying boats made such a spectacle in the Okanagan, when they were used against the massive Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003.
The question is such a common one, the wildfire service even has a response to it on its website.
“The Martin Mars has been retired. It was last used to fight a wildfire in B.C. in 2015,” the wildfire service says.
In a 2021 interview BCWS spokeswoman Jean Strong told Glacier Media that smaller, fixed-wing tankers and helicopters can target fires more quickly and efficiently.
Aircraft like Coulson Aviation’s Hawaii Mars water bomber require big bodies of water with lots of room to land, fill and take off again, BCWS says
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