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

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Bentley Martin (left), Graelynn Roche, and Paisleigh Martin (right) sell iced tea on Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Lindsey Roche/Contributed)
Kelowna children raise money for hospital with iced tea stand

Three children in Glenmore set up an iced tea stand to raise money for Kelowna General Hospital

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
UPDATE: Winfield road open following police, coroner investigation

Pelmewash Parkway closure near Highway 97 connection

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
All adults in Rutland, Summerland now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Province expands age range to 18+ for vaccinations in ‘high transmission’ areas

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Okanagan First Nation band concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, much to dismay of Splatsin First Nation near Enderby

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
High-risk takedown on Highway 1 following Shuswap shooting

Upon further investigation, the vehicle and its occupants were not associated with the shooting

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read