IL 76

California Burns as Russian Tanker Sits

(28 July 2004)

By Robert Bridge The Moscow News

Dry conditions, 100-degree temperatures and shifting winds are hampering firefighters battling blazes in the Santa Clarita foothills northwest of LosAngeles, prompting authorities to evacuate hundreds of residents over the
In Riverside County, almost 1000 firefighters are struggling to contain a 3,200 fire. According to the Riverside County Fire Department, the fire wasonly 25% contained by Sunday evening. But that fire is small compared with the 16,800-acre Pine fire in the Angeles National Forest. 
Capt. Rick Vogt of the California Department of Forestry told CNN that in one week “we’ve had fires start almost everyday in Southern California.”
In light of these blazes, the US Forestry Service is trying to employ the fire-fighting capacities of Russia’s Ilyushin-76 (Il-76) air tanker.
According to, The Il-76 hauls 11,000 gallons of water; more than three times the capacity of the Hercules C-130, the largestdomestic US air tanker. The twin-tank system of the Il-76 carries 135,000
pounds of liquid, and refills quickly. 
Tom Robinson, a fire administrator in Virginia, is sold on the idea of importing the Il76s to the US, as is US Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA). 
However, they have discovered that fighting bureaucracy is no easier than fighting a fire. 


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