McGuire’s ‘Keep the Firehawks Flying Act’ Heads to Governor’s Desk

Friday, September 22, 2023

Sacramento—Year after year, California’s firefighters battle wildfires that have grown larger, hotter and more extreme.

To battle these mega-fires, CAL FIRE planes and helicopters (the largest aerial firefighting fleet in the nation) need a quick supply of fuel to stay in the air and protect communities, suppress blazes and support firefighting crews on the ground.

Senate President Designee Mike McGuire’s critical legislation, SB 68, will ensure that CAL FIRE aircraft keeps flying by permitting aviation fuel transport to continue beyond standard hours of operation during a declared state of emergency. 

“Having enough aviation fuel for fire suppression aircraft is a critical part of California’s coordinated response to battling these ever growing massive mega-fires. But current state law makes it challenging for truck drivers to consistently transport aviation fuel when and where it’s needed most. If this legislation is signed, the California Highway Patrol through the development of new rules and regulations, will make sure hardworking truckers keep hauling aviation fuel during state emergencies around the clock. We desperately need to keep Firehawks flying, protecting communities during our greatest times of need,” said Senator McGuire.

California currently relies on a patchwork of emergency waivers in order to keep these aviation fuel trucks rolling during disasters, but this legislation would automatically allow truck drivers to continue the delivery of this important resource - aviation fuel.

SB 68, The Keep the Firehawks Flying Act, passed both the Senate and the Assembly and is now headed to the Governor’s desk.