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HomeNewsMLA raising question about Martin Mars contract, months ahead of fire season

MLA raising question about Martin Mars contract, months ahead of fire season

The next wildfire season is months away… but one MLA is already raising questions at the Legislature about whether the government ought to have the Martin Mars water bomber under contract.

Using – or not using – the Mars stirred up a lot of controversy last summer.

Alberni Pacific Rim’s Scott Fraser says the government should learn from its mistakes and make sure it doesn’t overlook what he calls an “incredible firefighting tool”.

“The beauty of this massive capacity is that it can knock out a fire in its inception. A wildfire typically grows very fast — three acres per hour — and the Martin Mars’ claim to fame is that it can be airborne, loaded and hitting a fire in less than one hour, before it can get out of control,” he said in the House on Wednesday.

“Arguably, if it had been on contract and on standby this year at its home base in Sproat Lake, the Mars would have knocked down the fires near Port Hardy and Sechelt and, ironically, Sproat Lake before they became big, costly, dangerous problems.”

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Coulson Aviation’s Hawaii Mars is the last of its kind now. The company recently shipped its twin, Philippine Mars, to the US National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola Florida

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