Wyden, Merkley Announce Additional Air Tanker Availability for Wildfires

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced the U.S. Forest Service is bringing on five additional airtankers for use when needed to battle wildfires in Oregon.

The additional contracts awarded by the Forest Service means the agency has 18 airtankers currently under exclusive use with the agency, each with a base period of one year and then four one-year options. In total, the agency will have up to 35 air tankers available under all available contracting options/using call-when-needed contracts.  

“Oregonians need to know as they’re facing an unprecedented public health crisis that there’s the broadest possible range of options available to fight wildfires and wildfire smoke that regularly threaten their health, homes and businesses,” Wyden said. “Today’s air tanker news adds key pieces to the wildfire-fighting arsenal and I will keep fighting to make sure Oregon has all the weapons needed to battle these destructive blazes.”

“The last thing our state needs during this public health crisis is to be hit by disastrous wildfires without the resources we need to fight the blazes,” said Merkley. “I’m very pleased that Oregon has secured another five airtankers—critical tools that will help us keep our communities safe—and I’m going to keep fighting to strengthen our fire preparedness and response strategies ahead of this year’s wildfire season.”

The contracts for the five additional tankers are going to two companies in Oregon – Aero Air (Hillsboro) and Coulson Aviation (Portland); and one in Washington — Aero Flite (Spokane).

 A web version of this release is here.