Federal Firefighting Planes Sit Idle as Fire Ravages Texas

Whether or not there should be a national forest service is a debate worth having, but since we have a US Forest Service, they ought to be doing what we pay them to do. But they are not. You see, the federal government terminated the contract with the company that provides aerial firefighting services, and apparently did not have a replacement. Now wildfires are ravaging the state of Texas and destroying the homes, livelihoods, and even lives of those in its path.

Human Events has the details.

The U.S. Forest Service terminated the contract with Aero Union five weeks ago to operate seven P-3 Orions that are critical to the agency’s firefighting mission, leaving the federal government with 11 tankers under contract to help battle more than 50 large uncontained wildfires now burning nationwide.

That’s down from 40 tankers used by the Forest Service just a decade ago, according to Rep. Dan Lungren (R.-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Administration, who is challenging the decision to dismiss the largest provider of heavy air-tanker support to the federal government.

“We were certified to fly all season, but they just terminated us and threw 60 people out of work and left the country vulnerable to fires, as you can see right now in Texas,” said Britt Gourley, CEO for Aero Union.

“This is our 50th anniversary fighting fires for the Forest Service. It’s not quite the way we wanted to celebrate it,” Gourley said.

Gourley said the government did not provide details on why the contract was canceled, but that they did not agree with Aero Union’s 15-year maintenance plan.

Be sure to read the whole thing, there are more details about the contract. It really makes no sense, especially when seeing videos like this one, showing how quickly these wildfires spread.

It makes you wonder, did the company owners contribute to Republicans? Is the workforce non-union?