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Slurry bombers too few, too late

Klaus Schattleitner

Dear Editor,

Dear Gov. Owen,

The slurry bombers have finally arrived. Not the promised eight but so far only three.

Those aircraft that are trying to snuff out the dangerous spots are now 48 hours late.

I am a pilot and have been flying in and out of Glenwood for 22 years. The winds are never really that bad very early in the morning to keep the bombers from doing their job.

Is the real reason, why the bombers were late, that there are not enough bombers?

The challenge with all forest fires, regardless why they start, is that they are not being put out when they are small enough to be put out. Is it true that the government contracts with private outfits to fight fires by aircraft? Is it true that these outfits simply do not have enough aircraft? Is it true that some of these aircraft date back to World War II and should be in museums rather than being put to serious work? Why could the government not convert more modern aircraft to efficient slurry bombers?

I, for one, would very gladly volunteer to be trained as a slurry bomber pilot to squash and kill fires. Many other pilots would follow. Let’s talk to the Department of Defense to allocate some of the military spending towards a crack slurry bomber outfit with 500 such bombers to stand ready near the ever-repeating, catastrophic fire areas. Those designated bomber stations could be 500 miles apart or whatever the most efficient grid would determine in order to get the fires doused in time.

We cannot ever completely prevent forest fires – we can become much more efficient in putting them out.

1. Report the fire

2. Call the nearest slurry bomber outfit

3. Bomb the fire out

Hopeful and respectful,

Klaus Schattleitner

Glenwood Springs


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