DC-10 drops 11,000 gallons of retardant on Doce fire - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC-10 drops 11,000 gallons of retardant on Doce fire

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MESA, Ariz. -

Crews at the Doce fire are not only getting help from fire crews, they're getting support from the air. We got a closer look at some of those aircraft.

The DC-10 is a big plane. A three-engine wide body jet that can fly over 500 miles per hour. With six to eight times the capacity of smaller tankers, this giant orange and white DC-10 glides in for a perfect landing at Mesa Gateway Airport.

This plane could fly hundreds of passengers long distances, but now it carries a different cargo.

A massive load of fire retardant to drop on wildfires.

The DC-10's size is its advantage.

"It is huge. It can carry over 11,000 gallons so you can get a lot done in a short quick amount of time," says Lisa Rodosevich-Craig, U.S. Forest Service.

This plane can make a dent in a wildfire much more quickly than the old, smaller tankers.

Tuesday, the ground crew hustled out to the DC-10. They're kind of like a pit crew refueling a race car, if the car had a tank holding 11,000 gallons.

While they pump in more retardant, a tanker truck sidles up to the other side of the plane and refuels it for another trip up to Prescott.

It's kind of a special day for this DC-10. It is the plane's birthday. Today it turns 39 years old.

But it's a working holiday for this plane. Just a crew of three working feverishly to tame a wildfire.

The DC-10 tanker can reload with retardant at eight bases in the western United States. Mesa Gateway is one of them.

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