Fire Prevention & Combat Fleet
The Fire Fleet, as it is referred to publicly, was established in 2035 as part of the Fire Prevention and Combat Act of 2034 and officially named the Fire Prevention and Combat Fleet of California. The “of California” was dropped a couple of years later because of the large number of deployments outside the state.
After the late 1990s the intensity of destruction of wildfires grew until a tipping point was reached in the mid 30s. The fleet originally consisted of fixed wing aircraft, but the large number of advantages airships offered in the delivery of water to fire zones tipped the balance to the large lighter than air vehicles. Fixed wing aircraft
The Long Recession played an interesting role in the origins of the fleet. After the collapse of the commercial travel and aviation industry in 2033, large aircraft were both plentiful and cheap to acquire as were pilots and ground crews. Converting these planes to air-tankers wasn't trivial, but certainly more cost effective than building a custom plane for the same purpose. But the fires were also growing in size.
Additionally, environmental concerns over the use of fire retardant had grown as well, which created the need for a replacement.
They put it together on a relatively tight budget and ran it almost like a military operation. Their idea was to create a fleet of airtankers that would be controlled like a drone. Cost saving was paramount so the fleet would be comprised of jet airliners that had been retired after reaching the end of their service life. The planes would be refurbished and outfitted as airtankers.
Every year of the ‘20s rightfully claimed to be the worst fire season yet. There were arguments about causes and what to do, but everyone agreed that it was likely going to keep getting worse and more costly. There was the cost of lost lives and also the actual cost. Money. Sadly it was probably the money part that was the motivating factor in getting something done.
The result was the beginning of the Fire Prevention and Combat Fleet, which quickly got the nickname Fire Fleet. Initially it was comprised of large jet airliners that were retrofitted as airtankers, but they proved to be inadequate. Something bigger was sooЪѯѥᐎᐓliᑏᐱǏỷǙỪỪʏ̃ʘ...Fragmentary Encryption Anomaly; Information irretrievable, data stream terminated.