MCCLELLAN PARK, Calif. (KTXL) – A big part of the state’s firefighting efforts are Cal Fire’s aircraft resources in Northern California, the majority of which are based in the Sacramento region.
The Cal Fire McClellan Reload Base is where all of Cal Fire’s aircraft are maintained during the slow wet season.
“And during the year those aviation assets go out to their respectable bases,” Cal Fire’s Brice Bennett told FOX40. “This summer we’ve pumped over 5.1 million gallons now, as of today, and that number continues to rise as we go through these large and damaging fires.”
Some fires are burning faster than the aircraft can keep up with and that’s why Cal Fire said they are getting help.
“This base also serves as a hub for the large and very large contract aircraft that come in and help us during these large and damaging wildfires,” Bennett explained.
Cal Fire is using the 747-400 Global Supertanker, the largest firefighting aircraft in the world, which can carry up to 19,000 gallons of water.
But the agency said smaller aircraft are also useful depending on the terrain the fire is burning in.
“Cal Fire is evolving with these fires in different aviation platforms with our new S70 Firehawk, as well as the C-130 platform,” Bennett said. “We’re doing our very best to continue to fight these fires to protect the people of California.”
When wildfire smoke does linger, Cal Fire cannot deploy its aircraft because visibility is too low. But they said the moment they know that it’s safe, they’ll fly.