By 1957 two different concepts for aerial attack of forest fires had emerged in North America. In some areas, particularly in the Southwestern United States, land based aircraft were used. In Canada, with its many lakes, water based aircaft were preferred. The Province of Ontario became an innovator in developing water-based waterbombing systems, with the main centre being at the Ontario Provincial Air Service
base in Sault ste,. Marie (now the site of the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre)
In 1944, Carl Crossley, an OPAS pilot stationed at Temagami, reasoned that if aircraft could be used to drop bombs upon cities in war-torn Europe, then they could be used to drop water on a forest fire. Early expirements with a 45 gallon barrel strapped into the open front cockpit of a Fairchild KR-34
evolved into custom water tanks built the floats of a Noorduyn Norseman
. In August 1945 he extinguished a small fire near Elk Lake with his system. Further tests followed however the promising idea was not pursued.