Gov’t tries jets over prop planes for aerial firefighting

The Coulson Group’s C-130s will not be a part of the B.C government’s forest firefighting force this summer—not even on a pilot basis.

A Coulson Aviation C-130 at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport this summer.

A Coulson Aviation C-130 at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport this summer.

The Coulson Group’s C-130s will not be a part of the B.C government’s forest firefighting force this summer—not even on a pilot basis.

Instead, the province will be testing Conair Group’s Avro RJ85 airtanker.

“The C-130 is a prop aircraft, which is the same technology as the current fleet uses, whereas B.C. Wildfire Service is looking to test the cost-effectiveness of a jet aircraft this summer,” Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations public affairs officer Greig Bethel wrote in an e-mail.

The next-generation RJ85 will supplement B.C. forest service’s current fleet of air-tankers on a pilot basis this summer.

“The addition of the aircraft ahead of the 2016 wildfire season will allow the BC Wildfire Service to evaluate its cost and effectiveness and help inform future procurement decisions,” a government press release noted.

Coulson Group CEO Wayne Coulson said that he did not receive a reason as to why the province turned down his C-130s despite their higher tank capacity.

“I have no idea why the province went with Conair,” Coulson said.

“The government dances to their own drum.”

Coulson added that there was no tender process for the awarding of the contract.

“It is unusual in the firefighting world to award a contract to a company without a tender process,” he said.

The MoF did not reply to questions about the lack of tender process.

The province’s contracted fleet for the 2016 fire season consists of 33 aircraft including one light-duty helicopter, five medium-duty helicopter, eight bird dog helicopters, 12 airtankers and two para-attack jump ships. The contract is split between Conair Group Inc., Air Spray (1967) Ltd., Ascent Helicopters Ltd., Wildcat Helicopters, Interior Helicopters (Jetcom Ventures Inc.), and Kenn Borek Air Ltd.

Bethel added that the province can bring in additional contracted aircraft as needed, noting that in July 2015, more than 100 helicopters were being used to fight fires throughout B.C.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s first movie theatre, started before 1920, was originally located on First Avenue, across from Alberni Hardware. This photo is one of 24,000 included in the Alberni Valley Museum’s online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN09360 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s first movie theatre

The Port Theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1952

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College to offer digital and in-person classes this fall

In-person classes will be able to resume in September

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
B.C. forestry watchdog finds lack of compliance in Nahmint logging

Forest Practices Board says old growth and biodiversity near Port Alberni are at risk

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read