Should a wildfire breakout in the Mother Lode this holiday weekend, local fire officials say they´re ready.
One tool firefighters will have to deal without are fixed wing air tankers.California Department of Forestry Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit Battalion Chief Richard Imlach says air tankers will not arrive at the Columbia Air Attack Base until June 16th.
Up until then, the aircraft will fly from a base in Porterville, southeast of Visalia. “It´s our closest air tanker at this point, which is a little bit of a flight from here,” Imlach admits.
He says the tankers can be called in to fight a fire in our area, but now would be able to reload with the bright red fire retardant at Columbia if needed. The tanker base in Grass Valley will also be ready soon, as well.
“We still have our helicopter on line (at Columbia) which is one our most valuable initial attack tools,” he added.
Mother Lode firefighters are in place and officials here feeling confident they are ready for the summer fire season and this Memorial Day holiday weekend. “We will have real good initial attack resources for any fire that starts,” he said.
Fire officials are asking people in the area this holiday weekend to be extremely careful with fire.