CALIFORNIA -- As impressive as they look, there are some who say the aerial retardant drops we see on the Rim Fire and other wildfires are a waste of time.
Even veteran firefighters reportedly say the air assaults on wildfires are more for show than anything else. They sarcastically call the use of retardant to bombard the flames "CNN drops," since they look good on TV.
Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott tells News10 the drops aren't the most effective way to knock out the flames but they serve a purpose.
"They can place retardant either directly on the fire or ahead of the fire," Pimlott said.
This paves the way for firefighters on the ground, not all of whom are critical. Pimlott adds that pilots also provide a bird's eye view for planning purposes.