Firebomber Publications Blog

Wildfire News Of The Day (the Firebomber Publications blog) provides comprehensive international wildfire news. Subscribers include over 10,000 personnel from fire agencies, contractors, and government entities on five continents. "BEST NEWSLETTER I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY 32 YEARS IN THE FIRE SERVICE" - San Diego Fire Department Chief Brian Fennessy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I saw an editorial in the Denver Post today (6/7/06) about the shortage of air-tankers (firefighting aircraft), something which readers typically respond to by saying "Gee, I wish that there was something I could do". Actually, there is! There are bills before Congress that would help turn this situation around before it’s too late. There is a bill in the US House of Representatives, HR4533 titled "The Air Tanker Emergency Release Act of 2004", that would help get the grounded air-tankers inspected, repaired, and back in the air.

Unlike their city firefighter brethren, heavy air-tanker pilots and crew are contractors who don't qualify for the PSOB (Public Safety Officer Benefit) that is extended to families of firefighters who die in the line of duty. Currently, the PSOB payout stands at $275,000, money which has been denied to the families of over 150 pilots who have died fighting fires over the years. HR1232 (in the House) and S1143 (in the Senate) titled "The Aerial Firefighter Relief Act of 2005" extend the PSOB to air-tanker pilots.

These bills are already in Congress, so no one has to vote on them. Let your representatives know you want these bills passed at and Let me know what you think at