Jun 29, 2012 - The Associated PressPETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- All eight Air Force cargo planes equipped to fight wildfires will be operating out of a Colorado air base Saturday.
Col. Jerry Champlin said Friday this is the first time the entire fleet has been activated simultaneously since 2008.
The Forest Service can request the C-130s when the rest of the firefighting fleet is in use or unavailable.
The C-130s are fitted with tanks and pumps that allow them to drop 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in seconds.
Four of the planes are already attacking Colorado wildfires from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
Late Thursday, U.S. Northern Command approved a Forest Service request to activate the other four.
The C-130s are assigned to National Guard and Reserve units in California, Colorado, North Carolina and Wyoming.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.