Firefighters on the ground endure arduous conditions in terrain sometimes not fit for a mountain lion. But now they get the help of new aerial firefighting equipment in the form of large transport category aircraft, the biggest on the Caldor Fire being a DC-10 provided by 10 Tanker, one of only four DC-10-30 former airliners converted into a massive aerial firefighting tool.
The 10 Tanker fighting the Caldor Fire was formally owned by Continental Airlines and started its new life as an aerial firefighting tool in about 2006. Based in Albuquerque, N.M., these DC-10-30s are currently the biggest fire bombardment tool in the firefighting arsenal, dropping 85,000 pounds (9,400 gallons) of retardant (or water) in one pass of a mile long and hundreds of yards wide — all in about 20 seconds. And for the Caldor Fire, the McClellan-based 10 Tanker can takeoff, deliver its load and return to base in 35-40 minutes and take off again 20 minutes later.
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