The Station Fire is estimated to have chewed through 105,00 acres thus far, having doubled its size in only six days. A swarm of firefighting aircraft dump fire retardants around the wildfire’s perimeter, trying to check its advance.
One interesting sidebar involves the rental of DC-10 tankers; California legislators made an oopsie and then quickly corrected it:
The state budget that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed last month canceled the contract for California’s largest firefighting tool, a DC-10 jet, to save taxpayers about $7 million.
It was replaced with a contract for two DC-10s on a pay-as-you-go basis, but at a higher hourly rate. But after several fires hit Northern California earlier this month, authorities reversed that decision and signed a 90-day contract for the plane, which costs taxpayers an average of $43,404 a day.
“The determination was made that it would cost more to have it on an as-needed basis than on an exclusive-use contract,” said Cal Fire aviation chief Bill Payne.
— Zavis, Alexandra and Cara Mia DiMassa. “Budget crisis hasn’t slowed aerial assault on Station fire, officials insist.” L.A. Now blog | Los Angeles Times, 30 August 2009