HORNBROOK, Calif. – The largest firefighting aircraft in the world was recently deployed to fight the Klamathon Fire.
On July 7, Global SuperTanker’s B747-446 was called upon by the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE) to help fight the fire, which at the time covered over 20,000 acres.
The converted Boeing aircraft, dubbed The Spirit of John Muir, is capable of dropping more than 19,000 gallons of water, fire retardant or suppressant, according to Global SuperTanker. The Colorado-based aircraft can fly at nearly 600 mph and reach anywhere in the U.S. in under three hours.
This was the SuperTanker’s first deployment this fire season in the nation and its second domestic deployment. CEO of Global SuperTanker Services Jim Wheeler said, “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.”
The SuperTanker has “call-when-needed” contracts with CAL FIRE, the Oregon Department of Forestry, several Colorado entities, and is currently applying for a contract with the United States Forest Service. Wheeler said, “The nature of call-when-needed contracts is that we go where we are called first. In this instance, that’s in California, fighting fires managed by CAL FIRE. Once the deployment is completed, we will be available to assist firefighters in Colorado or elsewhere should the SuperTanker’s services be needed.”
The SuperTanker will reportedly stay in California as long as CAL FIRE requires.