Sask. adds to wildfire aviation fleet with new plane

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) is planning on ramping up its wildfire fighting efforts by adding to its aviation fleet.

The SPSA is looking to purchase one Twin Commander bird-dog, to replace its aging Beech Baron bird-dog.

Bird-dog aircraft oversee how a fire is fought and direct other air tankers where to drop retardant.

The agency is also planning to contract a floatplane and three helicopters during the peak wildfire season.

“All are to be supplied with qualified operators, ground support and maintenance,” Chris Clemett, a spokesperson with the SPSA, wrote in an email to CTV News.

“These are being added to the fleet based on existing and anticipated response needs.”

The SPSA owns a fleet of 10 air tankers and seven bird-dog aircraft.

The number of contracted plans changes depending on the year, according to Clemett.

According to Natural Resources Canada’s fire forecast severity map, southern Saskatchewan is expected to be in the “extreme” zone in August.

The central part of the province and parts of northern Saskatchewan are forecasted as “very high” and “high” on the severity scale.

The 2022 Natural Resources Canada wildfire forecast severity map.

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