Rep. Sinema passes Supertanker wildfire amendment to FAA bill

Apr 27, 2018, 4:20 AM
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)...
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — An amendment that would make more air tankers available to wildfires was added to a bill, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema announced Thursday.

She proposed the measure that would give firefighters more support to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.

Last year, the Supertanker, a Very Large Air Taker (VLAT) based in Marana, Ariz., was grounded due to “an inconsistent, bureaucratic and lengthy government approval process,” she said in a statement.

VLATs help get wildfires under control. Traditional air tankers can hold up to 5,000 gallons of water or retardant – a Supertanker can drop more than 19,000 gallons.

“Washington red tape and dysfunction shouldn’t make it harder for Arizona firefighters to protect our communities from wildfires,” Sinema said. “These planes belong in the air, defending Arizona homes and supporting our first responders.”

This is in the midst of the Rattlesnake fire, a wildfire that was more than 23,000 acres large and 46 percent contained as of Thursday.

It has burned since April 11.

The FAA reauthorization bill was introduced in June and is still in the early stages of the approval process. It has not been voted on.

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Rep. Sinema passes Supertanker wildfire amendment to FAA bill