Government Bureaucracy Limits Fire Fighting Capacity
There is so much about government red tape that will can drive you to develop serious mental and personality issues. Take for instance the wildfires that have been raging in Colorado. Imagine how the population would feel if they knew that while they watched helplessly, this bad boy Boeing 747 Supertanker Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) aircraft with a 20,000 gallon tank capacity sat idle.
1. We were offered a Call-When-Needed (CWN) contract a few years ago by the US Forest Service (proving our technical viability), but we were never called into action resulting in a multi-million dollar loss to our company as we were required to maintain and have flight crew available should we be called. The only contract that will sustain a VLAT program is an Exclusive-Use contract, which provides an income stream to sustain the
program even if the asset is not utilized. We invested over $50M to develop this asset in the firm belief that we could better control fires as we proved in Israel and Mexico under CWN contracts that we could afford to offer at the time.
2. There have been recent changes to the US Forest Service procurement policies. Today, only small businesses are eligible for contract awards concerning air tanker assets; Evergreen is not a small business and, therefore, is excluded from consideration for any award.
3. The US Forest Service’s specification for Next Generation Air Tanker aircraft limits tank size to 5,000 gallons. The Supertanker’s tanks hold about 20,000 gallons, which is considered outside the USFS specification. The USFS just awarded contracts to four small businesses with aircraft equipped with these smaller tanks, and excluded the Evergreen Supertanker. Since World War II, tank capacities have been in the 3,000 to 5,000 gallon range, yet we continue to face the growing threat from mega fires today. We believe the Supertanker represents an overwhelming response to this growing threat.
How would you feel about this policy if it were you family’s home in the path of a marching fire?
Here’s what you can do if you think this policy needs to be re-examined:
Please contact your state representatives in Washington DC to demand an examination of their current procurement policies concerning VLAT aircraft. The US Forest Service says it best: “Only YOU can prevent wildfires.”
Please remember to pray for all who have been affected by the fires in Colorado.
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