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All Air Force fire planes in use
A helicopter flies Queens Canyon with a bucket of water while fighting the Waldo Canyon fire Wednesday. The five-day blaze has grown to more than 15,000 acres and has destroyed at least 100 homes in the Colorado Springs, Colo., area. MCT photo

All Air Force fire planes in use

Jun 29, 2012 - The Associated Press

PETERSON 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.

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