Issue 6 and Volume 144.

THE LAST GREEN THUNDER (Photos by Norm Booth, Jimmy Wilkins, Daryl Mansheim, and Brian Sullivan.) The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), the second largest fire department in the western world (Australia’s Country Fire Authority is the largest), has long recognized the need for and value of tactical operational aircraft, which now are a valuable component of its complex. We have 19,000 paid and volunteer firefighters, 577 fire stations, and 72 fire lookouts. Each year we respond to more than 20,000 wildfires and 150,000 other emergencies and protect more than 41 million acres of California’s watershed and millions of citizens. In addition, the CDF routinely responds, with agencies in 40 of the state’s 58 counties, to provide fire protection services. The CDF fleet includes 51 aircraft, including the only twin turboprop firefighting air tanker in the world. Each of the fleet’s 19 S-2 air tankers carries 800 gallons…

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