Firefighting airplanes at the ready at Santa Maria airport
There are now two fire air tankers at the Santa Maria Airport.
The C-130 typically stations out in Sacramento has been moved to Santa Maria after the base closed. The C-130 arrived Saturday and can hold 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant.
Fire crews say they are ready for this fire season.
"Last winter was such a wet winter that the fire season this year on the West Coast is expected to maybe start later and last longer," said Matt Ringlein, the C-130 Air Tanker captain. "Some of these early season fires were a good fill-in. One of the other reasons we are down in Santa Maria is because there is not a lot of civilian and, or other agency tankers that are on status. We are on status."
The other air tanker, a DC-10, has been assigned to the Santa Maria Air Tanker Base for the last two years.