10 Tanker stationed in Medford to help fight wildfires

MEDFORD, Ore. – As multiple wildfires in Oregon and Northern California continue to burn federal resources have been called in to help local agencies.

One air tanker company is currently stationed in Medford.

Many of us may have seen a 10 tanker air craft in the sky before.

So far this year, they’ve made quite the impact on several wildfires in Oregon and Northern California.

10 Tanker is a company based in Albuquerque that uses four air tankers all across the country to drop fire retardant.

The way the DC-10’s work is the entire inside of a commercial aircraft is gutted and restructured inside then fire retardant is loaded underneath the plane.

9,400 gallons of retardant can be stored on board, it’s the largest air tanker used for firefighting in the world, according to 10 Tanker.

10 Tanker’s aircrafts are able to dump roughly three times more retardant than other large tanker, making these tankers a valuable resource.

“We can bring a lot of retardant to a fire in an extremely timely manner,” 10 Tanker chief pilot Travis Major said. “So it’s a real veritable resource, it’s a very maneuverable aircraft for the size of the aircraft. We can do things that are surprising sometimes.”

These aircrafts are currently contracted through the U.S. Forest Service and have been called to over 450 firefighting missions this year.

So far this season, 10 Tanker has helped fight the Windigo Fire, Six Rivers Lightning Complex and most notably the McKinney Fire.

Major also mentioned that the aircraft is large enough to hold three lanes of bowling but don’t expect that to be on board any time soon.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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