An online petition to get the Martin Mars water-bomber in the air again to help fight the numerous wildfires raging across the province is slowly gaining momentum.
Coulson Aviation didn’t get a contract for the Sproat Lake based aircraft this season. President Wayne Coulson says he thinks it wonderful people are taking time out of their day to sign the petition and ask why the aircraft isn’t on the job this year, after 54 years of service.
Coulson says they’ve been watching the wildfire situation across Canada and the US and wondering if they might get called in to help. He says Canada’s air support resources are already stretched to the limit.
Coulson says he thinks it’s unlikely the province will reach out for support, but the Hawaii Mars is up to the task if needed.
Coulson says their previous contract with the province was worth about $750,000 per year, which he admits was a lot of money to be on standby, especially in years with very few wildfires. But he says this year illustrates the value of having a water-bomber like the Martin Mars on call, because the aircraft can have a significant impact on fires given the amount of water it can carry.