For the first time since September 2013, the Hawaii Mars waterbomber was airborne. The waterbomber conducted a test flight around Port Alberni around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (July 9, 2015), causing people to run out of homes and businesses to catch a glimpse.
The Hawaii Mars waterbomber went into the water at its home base of Sproat Lake on Tuesday as Coulson Aviation flight and ground crew prepare it for both firefighting and a contract to train pilots from China.
The company signed a contract yesterday with the Province of British Columbia for one month and may be called into action. The status of the flying tanker has been controversial in Port Alberni, where a forest fire at Dog Mountain, southwest of the city, has been blazing since July 4 and is anticipated to grow to 400 hectares as ground crews continue with a controlld burn.
Dog Mountain is approximately 450-460 hectares.
The Hawaii Mars crews performed flight checks on Wednesday and were waiting for haze from the Dog Mountain fire to lift before they were able to actually take off from Sproat Lake.
For updates on the fire, watch our website at www.albernivalleynews.com and our Facebook page for more frequent posts as the situation changes.