Province enters into 1 month contract to use Martin Mars water bomber

WATCH: Global BC viewer Dave Powell shared this video of the Martin Mars water bomber in flight over his Port Alberni house today. 

The B.C. Government has entered into a one-month contract to use the Martin Mars water bomber.

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson said given the extraordinary fire situation this year, and recognizing that public safety is paramount, we need to look at every possible “tool in our toolbox.”

The Martin Mars has not been used to fight forest fires for the past two years and the Coulson Group is currently getting the airtanker ready to fly. In addition to ensuring that the plane is mechanically sound, the province also needs to ensure that pilots are certified.

Thomson said they expect they may be in a position to use the bomber by this weekend.

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The Martin Mars will be stationed at Sproat Lake. Due to its size, the water bomber can only land on and scoop up water from about 113 water bodies in B.C. compared to to the 1,700 water bodies that the province’s amphibious scoopers can access.

As the Martin Mars is not suitable for steep terrain, Thomson said it will only be used in situations where it is safe to do so.

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