Manitoba

Manitoba adds 2 new water bombers

The Manitoba government is adding two new water bombers to its firefighting aircraft fleet.

63 forest fires burning across the province

One of two new water bombers that are being added to Manitoba's firefighting aircraft fleet. (Claudine Richard-Beaudoin/CBC)

The Manitoba government is adding two new water bombers to its firefighting aircraft fleet.

The province showed off its new Bombardier CL-415 Turboprop water bombers on Thursday. The planes have already been in service, with one battling a fire in Selkirk, Man., this past weekend.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton said the latest planes hold more water, fly faster and make twice as many drops per hour than the province's existing CL-215 aircraft.

The new water bombers are joining one plane already in service. Another water bomber will be put in service later this year, bringing the province's fleet to four planes in total.

Aircraft Type CL-415 CL-215
Speed 331 km/h 258 km/h
Water capacity 6,140 litres 5,346 litres
Number of drops per hour 20 12
Number of drops during four hour mission 80 48
Fuel Lead-free turbine Leaded AVgas

The three new planes will cost $126 million, the province said in a release.

Thursday's announcement comes as firefighters across Manitoba battle 63 forest fires that have burned 6,000 hectares of land so far this season.

"Despite the intermittent rains, Manitoba is on high alert for fires this year," Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh told reporters.

"We are very aware of the dry conditions that have been there for some period of time and do cause some risk."