The politics of firefighting: "CNN drops"

Air tanker drops in wildfires are often just for show. By Julie Cart and Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers







  1. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    Not only is it incredibly expensive to fight a fire by air it is also a very dangerous area to fly in. Thick smoke can clog your engines, dramatic thermals and micro winds created by the rising heat of the fire can affect your course…I am no pilot but I have read enough to know its a highly dangerous job. Its sad that these politicians give little regard to the advice of trained professionals on the ground as to the effectiveness of air deployment.

    There was a brush fire that was potentially dangerous in Idaho falls today that I watched and I was impressed at the coordination between multiple fire departments police and heavy equipment contractors to combat the fire.

    It was awesome to see the combined effort at fighting the fire. I have watched a few fires in the past including ones that used aerial equipment to fight the fire, amazing stuff.

    Its quite obvious they know what they are doing…its sad the politicians feel they need to take control into there own hand and bring expensive tools into the picture when they are not beneficial to the outcome.

  2. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    Being an elected official is the only government job with no minimum education or experience requirements. That does not stop them from coming instant experts of course. The scary thing is, if they can pull off this kind of interference in a high profile and highly dangerous event, think what they are doing behind the scenes in other less volitile but equally important areas.

    Managing emergency service aviation assets has always required knowledgable management whose authority is unquestioned when it comes to safety and mission. Sometimes even pilots need to be saved from themselves when they convince themselves that they can pull off ultra high risk activities and save the world. These politcos just add to that problem by denigrating the safety and mission aspects.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan