One of Ian Bell’s earliest memories is the awe he felt the first time he saw British Columbia’s legendary Martin Mars water bomber.
Bell, now an amateur aviation historian, was at the Sproat Lake air base near Port Alberni with his mother at the time to pick up his dad from a work trip.
While they were waiting for his dad to arrive, Bell saw the enormous Martin Mars, used to fight wildfires, getting pulled out of the water
“To a four-year-old’s eyes, it was the biggest thing I’ve ever seen,” Bell said.
“Just to think that we had those things flying around putting out fires actively working every day, all summer long, was pretty impressive.”
This past week at the annual meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, Port Alberni put forward a last-minute resolution asking the province to ink a new 10-year commitment to maintain the Martin Mars water bomber. On Friday, that motion was denied.
The signature red and white plane, built shortly after the Second World War, is beloved among many throughout the province. It’s best known for scooping large amounts of water and dousing some of B.C.’s worst wildfires.
But wildfire fighting tactics…Read More