The Texas Forest Service posted the following announcement today. I’m sure the firefighters on the ground will appreciate this help. The DC-10 may already be in the air as I write.
Sept. 8, 2011 — AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Forest Service has called in a DC-10 airtanker to help battle the wildfires raging across the state.
The tanker can drop more than 11,000 gallons of retardant at a time, spreading a swath three quarters of a mile long and 500 feet wide.
The aircraft arrived at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Tuesday night. Crews currently are establishing the accompanying retardant plant, a plumbing system that will be used to funnel retardant into the plane.
It normally takes about two days to set up the plant, which should be up and running by Friday morning.
While the plant is put together, the pilots will be taking a mandatory two days off. They’re required to take two days off within a 14 day period, per federal regulations.
The retardant plant should be operational and the DC-10 should be flying by Friday morning.
Resources across Texas have been spread thin battling numerous wildfires fueled by historic drought and critical fire weather conditions. The DC-10 — as well as the 65 other air resources that we currently have in the state — hopefully will provide some much needed relief for both communities and firefighters.
Texas Forest Service Communications