Air tankers called in from Canada to fight High Park Fire

Air tankers called in from Canada to fight High Park Fire

10 June 2012

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 USA / Canada — Ten air tankers from as far away as Canada are continuously dropping fire retardant chemicals on the High Park Fire.

Five heavy air tankers and five single-engine air tankers are being utilized.

Their base of operations is the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport near Broomfield.
Help is coming in from all over the country and Canada to fight this massive fire from the air.

The refueling process takes about 20 minutes from the time the plane lands and refuels to the time it gets back in the air.

Not only do the air tankers fill up with fuel, they also fill up with fire retardant chemicals from Blackfoot, Idaho.

Several delivery trucks made the 11 hour trip. Each holds 4,000 gallons of fire retardant.

Each of the heavy air tankers holds about 2,000 gallons of fire retardant.

A crowd gathered Sunday at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport to watch the refueling process, including Brian O’Neel of Wheat Ridge.

“I’ve got to hand it to them. They’re gutsy,” O’Neel said. “With the winds the way they are and the smoke, I don’t know how they do it. You’ve got to be pretty brave to be a pilot.”

O’Neel has been going to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport to watch the planes each fire season for the past five years. He says this season is among the worst he’s ever seen.

The refueling process has been continuously happening all day and it will continue Sunday night.

The air tankers are dropping chemicals on the fire to assist firefighters on the ground. That gives firefighters some breathing room as they work to build a perimeter around the fire and get it under control.

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