The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) unveiled its new water-scooping air tanker on Tuesday in a move the organization says will improve their wildfire response across the province.
The new CL-215T air tanker replaces the now obsolete CL-215 in the SPSA’s aerial wildfire suppression fleet. The tanker was purchased and refurbished by De Havilland Aircraft Canada at a cost of $37.3 million.
“This investment of $37.3 million will allow our responders to better protect lives, communities, major infrastructure, and other values,” Corrections, Policing, and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said in a press release.
The CL-215T can reach speeds of roughly 329 KPH. It can collect 1,200 gallons of water from an open source in about 10 seconds. The SPSA unveiled the aircraft at the Regina airport.
“Aircrafts play an important role in Saskatchewan’s wildfire management program,” SPSA President and Fire Commissioner Marlo Pritchard said. “With the 2023 wildfire season just beginning, an expansion of the fleet means that wildfire responders and resources will be strengthened when protecting our province, especially in the north.”
As of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, there are 11 active wildfires burning in Saskatchewan, seven of which are contained.