Air tankers have landed in Penticton ready to fight wildfires when needed

BC Wildfire Service air tankers and pilots are now stationed at the Penticton Airport, ready at a moment’s notice to fight wildfires. (Western News file photo)BC Wildfire Service air tankers and pilots are now stationed at the Penticton Airport, ready at a moment’s notice to fight wildfires. (Western News file photo)
The pilots landed the three air tankers and one bird dog at the Penticton airport base on Saturday. Penticton will be their base until at least Aug. 31. (Monique Tamminga Western News)The pilots landed the three air tankers and one bird dog at the Penticton airport base on Saturday. Penticton will be their base until at least Aug. 31. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
The pilots landed the three air tankers and one bird dog at the Penticton airport base on Saturday. Penticton will be their base until at least Aug. 31. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
The pilots landed the three air tankers and one bird dog at the Penticton airport base on Saturday. Penticton will be their base until at least Aug. 31. (Monique Tamminga Western News)The pilots landed the three air tankers and one bird dog at the Penticton airport base on Saturday. Penticton will be their base until at least Aug. 31. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Air tankers have touched down in Penticton, ready and able to fight wildfires if and when they arrive.

The pilots landed the three air tankers and one birddog plane at the Penticton airport on Saturday. Penticton will be their base to fight wildfires until Aug. 31. BC Wildfire Services’ contract can be extended if necessary if there is ongoing wildfire activity or continued dry conditions, said Greg Adams, BC Wildfire Services Air Attack Officer.

There are seven pilots and one air attack officer based out of Penticton.

As well, there are three aircraft maintenance engineers and two loader technicians. The loader technicians are responsible for mixing the retardant and loading retardant into the airplanes.

Fire retardant is the red substance dropped out of the bombers and onto the interface of fires.

The air tanker group in Penticton can go anywhere in the province but will primarily fight wildfires in the southern areas of B.C., said Adams. They helped with the Mount Christie fire last summer and all the fires in 2018.

There are eight air tanker groups at various locations throughout the province and 15 spread across B.C. that can be used where B.C. has heightened wildfire activity.

Wildfire season runs from April 1, 2021 and will officially end on March 31, 2022.

According to the BC Wildfire Dashboard, there have already been 154 wildfires this year, with the majority of them being human-caused.

Penticton saw three wildfires spark in one day last month.

READ MORE: 3 wildfires in one day

In 2018, B.C. experienced the worst fire season on record with more than 2,000 fires and 1.35 million hectares burned, according to new statistics released by Statistics Canada.

READ MORE: Penticton blanketed in smoke for 2018 summer

The Christie Mountain fire last August was powerful but short lived. BC Wildfire Services managed to contain the fire less than three weeks after it started.

In southern B.C., grass fire season in typically in the spring until the grass turns green. Generally, in southern B.C., there is increased wildfire activity picking up in mid-July until mid-September. There are exceptions based on the current weather patterns.

READ MORE: Life of a wildfire fighting pilot

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

An example of one the sounding boards the RDOS has set up to gather feedback for their first parks, trails and recreation master plan. (RDOS)
Looking for feedback from Princeton and Keremeos for park and rec plan

Sounding boards have been set up in both regions for in-person input

Al Kowalko shows off the province's first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Okanagan schools shifting gears to electric buses

Vernon, Central Okanagan, Rocky Mountain and Okanagan-Skaha on board

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
Accessibility concerns raised as Kelowna ponders banning vehicles from Knox Mountain

Knox Mountain Drive, which leads to two lookouts, has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began

Upgrades will be completed on a portion of the Kettle Valley Railway trail north of Penticton. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen photo)
Contract awarded for improvements to trail near Penticton

Portion of Kettle Valley Railway trail will receive upgrades

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cops for Kids riders will be spinning 30 feet in the air on scissor lifts at SaveOn Foods locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna Saturday, May 8, 2021. (File photo)
Cops reach new heights for Okanagan kids

Nor-Val Rentals is doing the heavy lifting Saturday in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News file)
People aged 30+ in Summerland, Rutland offered vaccine amid high transmission risk

Interior Health offers residents of Rutland and Summerland aged 30 and up chance at vaccine

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Most Read