My friend and fellow aviation fan Richard Havers of England sent me some amazing shots of a vintage Martin Mars flying boat being used to fight fires. The pictures say it all, but here are Richard's comments:
"Martin Mars flying boats were used during the recent Californian fires. The US fire-bombing force was limited to using modern aircraft given the recent ban on older aircraft, but being on the Canadian register, the Mars could be engaged.How low can a man go?"
An accompanying comment with the photos reads:
"Coulson was likely under contract to fight the fires in S. CA and it looks like Lake Elsinore was a convenient water pickup site. The daring pilot of this magnificent relic apparently needed every bit of the length of the lake to effect a successful water pickup and still get off the lake. There is zero wind, too. I especially like the first photo where the pilot seems to be picking a path through the salt cedar bushes.....It must be an expensive chore, keeping those Wright Duplex Cyclones clanking away!"