The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control announced Thursday it reached an agreement with the Global Supertanker to support firefighting efforts in the state.
The agreement means state fire officials can request the 747 air tanker to support firefighting efforts on state lands and in US Forest lands in Colorado while under state firefighting command.
In order for the plane to fight fires in Colorado, the plane will need a software addition to fight fires in areas. It is working with a software vendor that supplies technology to the U.S. Forest Service to resolve the issue.
Once the software issue is resolved, the supertanker will be able to complete the approval process with the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. That update is needed in order to fight fires in multiple states, including Colorado.
“Colorado is our home base, and there is nothing we’d like to be doing more than working alongside the brave men and women currently fighting some of the worst fires the state has ever seen,” said Global SuperTanker CEO Jim Wheeler said in a news release. “We will work with the State of Colorado and others who need our services as quickly as possible.”
The plane is based in Colorado Springs and it is under contract to fight fires in El Paso County and in Colorado Springs.
The supertanker can hold 19,200 gallons of water or retardant and can make as many as eight drops in a single flight. It has fought wildfires overseas and in California.
It’s yet not clear if the Supertanker will be used to fight the Spring Fire burning in Huerfano and Costilla Counties.