Earlier this summer, the Swedish Air Force dropped a laser-guided bomb on a forest fire to help suppress the flames. Now there’s a proposal for the United States to do the same, using the might of the U.S. Air Force to fight America’s raging forest fires via bombs and sonic booms. Bombers that have attacked targets in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq could instead strike targets in the continental United States—this time saving lives and property.
As the Earth’s climate changes, wildfire season in the western United States has grown from a summertime concern into a year-round struggle. Higher temperatures have meant, according to one government scientist, “severe droughts, meaning more dry fuel, as well as more intense heat waves”. The conditions set the stage for more, larger fires throughout the year. The trend will threaten people, property, and natural spaces, not to mention push the need for government firefighting services to unprecedented levels.
Clearly it’s time for new and crazy-sounding ideas. Last month, the Swedish government, battling wildfires of its own, dropped a GBU-49 laser guided bomb on a remote forest fire. F-15 Strike Eagle Weapon System Officer Mike Benitez, writing in War on the Rocks, proposes using B-1 bombers stuffed to the gills with bombs to battle wildfires on the American homefront.