Some good journalism by Stephanie Hoops of the Ventura County Star sheds further light on the money trail and politics surrounding the use of the tankers.
“The federal government has no contract with the DC-10’s owner, and the Day fire is burning on federal property, so authorities had to rely on the state to arrange for the plane.
California has a “call-when-needed contract” with the plane’s owner. It will pay for the drops made Sunday because the fire was headed toward state jurisdiction.
“We used it on federal land to keep it from burning down into populated communities,” said Matt Streck, a California Department of Forestry spokesman.
For the federal government to utilize such jets in the future, the aircraft must be certified for use on national forest terrain, Mathes said.
The DC-10’s owner, Victorville-based 10 Tanker Air Carrier, is working with the federal government to get clearance for use on federal lands, said Rick Hatton, a partner in the company.
“Only the state can call it up and pay for it, as it sits today,” Hatton said Monday.”
That’s interesting, the CDF has a contract with the owners of the DC 10 and can order up the jet for fires on their turf OR to keep it from burning into their jurisdiction. The precedent has been set, the tanker has delivered a load over Fed. land so the liability issue has been overcome, it’s simply a money issue.