The Manitoba government has announced $1.6 million to help upgrade the province’s water bomber fleet ahead of forest fire season.
The money will be used in part to put new radios in three bombers to help connect to next-generation networks, while four other bombers will see new warning systems and corrosion protection installed.
The province says it is also building a pair of 12-person bunkhouses at the Wekusko Falls base to help keep staff closer to where they’re needed.
“Investing in our provincial water bomber fleet is essential as it plays an important role in our government’s climate resiliency strategy,” said Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Scott Fielding.
“Strategic investments in the prevention and suppression of wildfires will help ensure the ability to prepare and respond in managing wildfire risks to protect Manitobans, forestry and provincial natural resources.”
Fielding said the installation of new water door warning systems will make water scooping operations safer.
The province says it has now spent $4.1 million over the past three years to support its fleet of seven water bombers.
Last year’s forest fire season was one of the worst in recent memory in Manitoba, with upwards of 150 fires burning at the same time in early August.
–with files from Skylar Peters