A air tanker facility in Santa Barbara County which had been staffed on demand in the past will be fully staff during the peak brush and forest fire season next year.
The U.S. Forest Service had reduced staffing at the Santa Maria Airport facility to save money. When there was a fire, it would staff up the facility, but fire officials in the county say that precious time could be lost during that process during a major fire. Now, the Los Padres National Forest says the facility will be staffed for action all during the peak season in 2012.
The facility currently has on-sight staffing through November 15th of this year, with the 15th being the end of the declared fire season.