As wildfires rage across California, beleaguered fire officials are calling for reinforcements. After a lengthy delay, a modified 747 airplane is expected to be deployed this weekend to assist with the fight.
The Global SuperTanker, a Boeing 747 airframe modified for firefighting, received approval from Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service on Friday night to begin dropping water, retardant and suppressant on wildfires, according to Global SuperTanker Services CEO Jim Wheeler. The plane, named the Spirit of John Muir, can fly up to 600 miles per hour and deliver up to eight drops totaling 19,200 gallons in a single flight.
"We thank Cal Fire and the USFS for their tremendous professionalism and diligence throughout the (approval) process and look forward working with the team in 2018," Wheeler said in a statement. "The severity and multiple locations of fires this early in the season is another indication that the country needs additional air assets in order to fight fires effectively and efficiently."