September 18, 2019 (San Diego) -- On August 30th, the County of San Diego issued a news release titled “CAL FIRE Prepares To Add New Aerial Attack Plane”. It incorrectly stated, “CAL FIRE plans in the near future to purchase a retardant-dropping C-130 air tanker and the agency’s pilots got a chance to train in the region this month.”
A video did show a pilot training in Ramona, as ECM reported. Cal Fire Captain and Public Information officer Issac Sanchez, in the video, indicated that Cal Fire hoped to have a C-130 permanently stationed in the region within the next couple of years.
However, yesterday ECM received an e-mail from Thomas Dominguez, who says he is a former firefighter. He disputed the County’s statements and indicated that the aircraft in question is to be given, not sold, to Cal Fire by the federal government. He also stated that the aircraft is not currently equipped with a fire retardant system.
CalFire has confirmed that these are truthful statements, and that this process will likely take a couple of years, though will ultimately make our region safer.
Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.