MCCLELLAN PARK, Calif. (CBS13) – Cal Fire has dropped nearly 2 million gallons of fire retardant from McClellan Air Park this year. And they don’t see any signs of slowing down.
“The number of aircraft that come through here changes at a moment’s notice,” said Brice Bennett, a spokesperson for Cal Fire. “Obviously, the state is ready to burn. We have extreme fire conditions occurring from north to south.”
But the lifeline of the fight from above is based here in Sacramento County. McClellan’s central location makes it the perfect place for retardant planes to load up.
“We’ve even supported fires into Oregon and into Nevada,” Bennett said. “This base primarily supports the large and very large air tankers. Those carrying 3, 4, 10 thousand and even 19 thousand gallons of retardant to some of these fires.”
Like the S-2s, DC-10, and the 747 Supertanker.
“The traffic through McClellan today has been constant,” Bennett said. “Firefighters are on the ground here making sure these aircraft get reloaded properly and sent out to support the firefighters on the ground.”
So far this year, Cal Fire has dropped 1.9 million gallons of retardant from McClellan.
“That is drastically ahead of last year,” he told CBS13.
And if the triple-digit temperatures continue, Bennett doesn’t see the fight slowing down soon.
“It doesn’t seem to matter if we’ve had a wet winter or a dry winter, California is prone for wildfire,” he said.
The National Guard joins the fight, with two C-130 planes ready to load up with retardant.