As Canada’s water bombers age — and wildfire seasons are expected to intensify — some wildland firefighters and emergency preparedness experts say the country needs to prop up its fleet of firefighting aircraft, even as several provinces are playing down concerns about capacity.
The aircraft are an easily recognizable part of Canada’s fight against wildfires, playing a key supporting role in the annual battle against the flames.
They are also important in a country where wildfires can often be spread out over massive, remote stretches of land, offering a way to hold off fires until ground crews arrive.
“We’re really starting to see the effects of the aging fleet,” said Eric Davidson, president of the Ontario Professional Association of Wildland Firefighters.
This year saw the worst wildfire season ever recorded in Canada, which exposed cracks in the country’s firefighting capacity, including firefighter retention and recruitment.
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