It was not immediately clear what caused the fire at the 12th century building that attracts more than 13 million visitors each year and is home to a number of the country’s artistic masterpieces. The cathedral was being renovated at the time it caught fire. Parts of the church’s historic spire are reported to have collapsed.
Experts said that the president’s proposal would likely make the situation more dangerous.
“If you hit that with tons of water from above, that’s going to collapse the entire structure and make the situation worse,” said Wayne McPartland, a retired New York City Fire Department battalion chief. “If you miss, you might hit civilians in the street.”
France made plans to convert six aircraft into air tankers last year, according to the industry website Fire Aviation. Each of the planes can carry 2,600 gallons of water.