The provincial government is looking into adding a Martin Mars water bomber to its fleet of resources, according to Coulson Group chief executive officer Wayne Coulson.
“Given the extraordinary situation and in recognizing that public safety is paramount, we’ve been looking at all available options outside of our current resources,” said a statement from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The Coulson Group has a standing contract with the B.C. government for the company’s helicopters every year.
Coulson said the government has now inquired about one of the Martin Mars water bombers, and is looking to add it in to their existing contract. Reports that state the deal has already been signed are misinformed.
“We provided the information to them, and that’s where it’s at,” he said. “We’re watering the Mars tomorrow morning and we’re going to start test flying it.”
While there are more cost-effective options available, in the right circumstances, it can now be called on to supplement the airtanker fleet.
The pilots who are test flying it will be the ones who would conduct the operation if the provincial government decides to use the aircrafts. Coulson said the earliest it could be deployed would either be Wednesday or Thursday.