WASHINGTON (KION) Sen. Dianne Feinstein shared a letter Wednesday calling on the Air Force to expedite the process of retrofitting and transferring seven C-130 planes from the Coast Guard to be used to fight California wildfires.
The letter, addressed to Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth, was written by Feinstein and Sen. Alex Padilla.
In the letter, they ask for an update on the delivery schedule for the planes and a description of any concerns about modifications and timely delivery.
"We understand that there have been disruptions to the original schedule for transferring the seven C-130 air tankers to California resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the contract, and delays in conducting depot maintenance. We are especially concerned with any potential design issues that could prevent the aircraft from obtaining a firefighting capability. These delays are especially troubling because of the crucial role air assets play in fighting California wildfires," they wrote in part.
Feinstein and Padilla wrote that California has had 2,878 wildfires that have burned 16,800 acres so far this year, at least five times more than what had burned by this time last year.