Aircraft from Penhold battling fires in B.C.

A Penhold-based fire suppression air company is working flat out in helping fight wildfires that plague British Columbia.

A Penhold-based fire suppression air company is working flat out in helping fight wildfires that plague British Columbia.

Tanker planes and staff with Air Spray Ltd. based at Red Deer Industrial Airport have five aircraft fighting fires in B.C., says Kirk Carleton, director of maintenance for the company.

Since mid-July, the company has had five tanker planes, instead of the usual three, working in B.C., Air Spray also has three small turbo passenger Bird Dog planes to guide the tankers, and two dozen staff there to fly and maintain the aircraft.

Air Spray has three aircraft contracted to the B.C. Forestry Department.

“We’ve had a couple of spare aircraft this summer and both of them are out there as well,” Carleton said.

This is a time of year that typically marks the end of B.C.’s fire season but hot and dry conditions in large parts of the province are making the fire risk as precarious as ever.

There are hundreds of fires burning across B.C., and several of those remain dangerously close to residences, where evacuation orders continue to keep people from their homes. Crews continue to make progress and fewer new fires started over the weekend.

The five large Air Spray planes are the L-188 Electra.

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