Given the devastating impacts of last year’s wildfire season on Napa County, it’s difficult to understand why the Board of Supervisors is not rallying around the proposal put forth by the Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture to fund two Rapid Response Aircraft (RRA), aka the Fire Boss, to provide an immediate response to the next wildfire.

The planes will not be added to the county’s firefighting assets without the Board of Supervisors making a formal request to CalFire to add them to their existing contract or its upcoming renewal in July.

I can only conclude that the board still has questions and concerns about the Fire Boss and its operation and hope that they would put those questions before the proponents of the project and other experts in the field before drawing any conclusions. But, this needs to be acted upon now. Wildfire season will soon be upon us again. And given the drought, erratic weather patterns due to climate change and the alarming lack of soil moisture, it could be every bit as bad as last year’s.

Napa County Fire Chief Belyea and Tri-County Fire Chief Jones have also expressed concerns, seeming to be more in favor of using helicopters to fight wildfires. But people should understand that implementing the Fire Boss proposal does not create an “either or” situation. Rather, it is a valuable addition to the tools we’ll have available. Why not have both and increase our overall protection?

Read more on this story at the Napa Valley Register