Number of Airtankers: 23
Type: S-2T airtanker
Max. Speed: 235 knots (270 mph)
Gallons Carried: 1,200
CAL FIRE first began using airtankers in the 1950s when agriculture spraying planes were used to drop water on fires. In 1958, CAL FIRE, then CDF, contracted with a private airtanker service for the use of their converted World War II aircraft. By 1970 the department began to evaluate the use of former military Grumman S-2 aircraft. In 1987, CAL FIRE began the process of upgrading the engines to turbine driven. By 2005 all of CAL FIRE’s airtanker fleet had been converted to S-2T airtankers. Today CAL FIRE utilizes the S-2T air tankers for fast initial attack delivery of fire retardant on wildland fires.