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(Photo: Forest Service)

PHOENIX -- A large aircraft that has been outfitted to carry large loads of retardant to hammer wildfires arrived at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport Monday night. It likely will be up in the air soon to fight fires in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Dolores Garcia with the Bureau of Land Management said the DC-10 is easily capable of reaching Colorado and New Mexico because it carries a large fuel supply along with a heavy load of firefighting retardant.

"A typical airtanker carries about 2,000 gallons of retardant. The DC-10 carries just under 12,000 gallons. It's just another tool in the toolbox."

The Valley will be the primary base for the DC-10, which could reach Ruidoso, N.M., where the Little Bear Fire is burning, in about an hour before returning to Mesa to reload.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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