The Manitoba government is adding two more water bombers to its fleet of forest-firefighting aircraft.
The province on Thursday showed off two new Bombardier CL-415 turboprop water bombers, which will allow for an increased capacity to fight forest and grass fires throughout the province.
“These planes hold more water, fly faster and make almost twice as many drops per hour than the older CL-215 water-bombers,” said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton. “They are the newest and world’s best water bombers and will require less maintenance while using less oil and cleaner fuel.”
The planes cost about $30 million each and come to the province as part of a $126 million contract for four new aircrafts being delivered in stages. The fourth water bomber is due to arrive in the fall.
The water bombers should see plenty of action this season, which has turned out to be volatile for fires with the dry weather conditions.
There were 315 fires that burned a total of 126,800 hectares last year in Manitoba, compared with the 16-year average of 492 fires and 183,059 hectares.