Since the Bel-Air fire, I have been trying to sell the concept of converting at least a part of the California Air National Guard to the California Air Fire Brigade with large tanker aircraft at the ready in key locations in the state.
If 20 or 25 such aircraft had been available the Oakland fire might have been controlled early (and Santa Barbara and others as well). The cost would be minimal as such aircraft are already in the guard, personnel are on the payroll and facilities are in place, but they need to be ready at short notice.
Are we going to let the state burn down?
KEITH R. MATZINGER