Bring back the aerial tankers

Regarding the Aug. 30 commentary “Congress needs to act on wildfires”: Our Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, presented a sob story about the devastation caused by recent wild fires. Wow, does this not show his concern?

Unfortunately, Goldmark never mentioned the aerial tankers that have been excluded from fighting fires from the air by the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture. USFS used a contract that excluded these monster firefighters, which are perfect for the fire that took away Pateros in Eastern Washington. Google this: Evergreen Aviation 747 Fire Truck/Tanker. Then read the first 12 or so listed items. They aren’t long. The information might make you sick, it should anger you if you know someone who had their property destroyed last month.

Goldmark said that he was leading the firefighters. Really? Then why doesn’t he know that the best way to fight a fire is to take the biggest bucket you have, fill it full of water, run to the fire, dump your bucket, then run back to the water source as fast as you can, until the fire is out.

What really makes me wonder about our Western States Land Commissioners is why they didn’t sit down and create a pool of about $22 million to give Evergreen Aviation and the other guys with the big birds contracts they can live with, make a profit and put out fires from the air? I can’t believe that 11 guys who claim to have the lands of their states under good direction can sit back and watch the devastation the fires create and not do anything about it, and then, in Goldmark’s case, write a sob story about the results of the fires and never mention something that just might have cut the carnage by 75 percent or more, the super tankers.

The USFS contract offered to Evergreen and the other operators in June, 2013, was an “as needed” type. Try that on your local fire department. That proves again the bureaucrats have no idea of how businesses work. Does anyone wonder why our country is on the skids? And be sure to check out the article where the Secretary of Agriculture is interviewed.

In June, 2013 the Evergreen bird was parked in Arizona 20 minutes from the fire that destroyed 400 homes in Colorado and 20 minutes from the fire that killed 19 firefighters in Arizona. It was not much further that from the $100 million fire at Yosemite. They can come up with the money to fight the fires but not to hire the monster birds. Good thinking, folks, really, really smart.

Richard Jauch

Camano Island

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