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Updated Apr 22, 2013 - 8:08 am

Airliner could turn firefighting tanker for summer

PHOENIX — A pair of modified McDonnell Douglas DC-10s could be used to carried thousands of gallons of retardant to bomb fires in Arizona this summer.

“The DC-10 can dump the same amount of fire retardant on a fire in one shot that it would take smaller aircraft 4-5 flights to carry out,” said Rick Hatton, president and CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier.

The tanker, which normally has chartered American Airlines and Continental passengers, was used during the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona two years ago and helped save the community of Greer.

“Quite often you’re just trying to prevent the fire from moving to someplace you don’t want it to be in. You’re not really putting it out, you’re blocking it,” Hatton said. “A freeway, ocean or river is good for that and if you don’t have that, you need to do it artificially and that’s what this tanker does quite well.”

Hatton’s DC-10s have flown on more than 125 fires in 12 states as well as two foreign countries in the past seven fire seasons. The tanker flew on seven wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico last summer: Little Bear Fire, 257 Fire, Grand Fire, Poco Fire, Six Shooter Fire, Fox Fire and 177 Fire.


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