The giant DC-10 aircraft that has been used by Cal Fire to drop massive amounts of retardant on fires is no longer guaranteed to be there when firefighters need it. Due to budget cuts, the plane has been cut from the state budget.
Daniel Berlant with Cal Fire says they enjoyed the volume of service the tanker provided during the last four years. “The DC 10 air tanker can hold about 12,000 gallons of fire retardant. Our air tankers hold about 1200. The federal air tankers hold about 3,000,” said Berlant.
But, the seven million dollar a year price tag to have exclusive rights to the privately-owned plane was too much for Cal Fire’s budget. If the plane is not being used by another state, California can still rent it for around 50 thousand dollars a day.
Cal Fire is also shutting down the Victorville base where the plane was kept. That’s a savings of an additional million dollars a year.