Today, through the adoption of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress included a provision that would allow for the transfer of aircraft no longer needed by the Department of Defense to the Forest Service for wildland firefighting purposes. NASF applauds the steps taken by Congress to improve the nation’s ability to respond to wildland fire.
The 2012 fire season proved to be one of the worst on record, even as we saw the further reduced airtanker fleet due to safety concerns and crashes. With deteriorating forest and rangeland conditions and ongoing drought contributing to predictions by the National Interagency Fire Center for another disastrous 2013 wildfire season, the need for an improved tanker fleet has become more important than ever.
Today’s action by Congress supports the Forest Service as they work to implement the Large Airtanker Modernization Strategy by providing near term access to airtankers.