Aerial firefighting on the Black Forest Fire


Blackhawk, June 12, 2013, Photo by Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet

The military has been supplying numerous photos and some videos of their firefighting activities on the Black Forest Fire. Helicopters from the Colorado National Guard and Fort Carson as well as C-130 MAFFS air tankers are assisting firefighters on the ground. Here are seven photos of aircraft taken on June 12 by military personnel. The DC-10 is not military, but is working under a contract with the U. S. Forest Service.

Blackhawk dipping

Blackhawk dipping, June 12, 2013, Photo by Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet

Blackhawk, dipping up to 500 gallons

Blackhawk, dipping up to 500 gallons, June 12, 2013,, Photo by Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet

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Video of firefighting on the Powerhouse Fire

This video by Fireground Action has some excellent footage of firefighters in action on the Powerhouse Fire in southern California, June 2, 2013. There are also several retardant drops from S2Ts and the DC-10.

Here is the description of the video from YouTube:

Published on 5 Jun 2013

Coverage from day three of the “Powerhouse” wildfire burning in northern Los Angeles County. At the time of this post the fire had burned more than 30,000 acres, destroyed 5+ structures and was 60% contained. The DC-10 tanker made three consecutive drops right in front of us. So close, in fact, that we could feel the jet wash as it passed over our heads. Turn up the volume to get the full effect! As always, I left the original audio intact with no music or sounds effects added. For still images from this incident visit DON”T FORGET TO “LIKE” THE VIDEO! Thanks!


DC-10 air tanker activated

Tanker 910, a DC-10,

Tanker 910, a DC-10, at Rapid City, April 23, 2013. Photo by Bill Gabbert. (click to enlarge)

One of the DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers has been activated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, CAL FIRE. Rick Hatton, President of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, the company that operates the two DC-10 air tankers, confirmed for us today that it will come on duty tomorrow, May 4. He said most likely the one they will use will be Tanker 910, the aircraft that visited four cities last week on the way back from scheduled maintenance in Michigan.

The DC-10s always carry 11,600 gallons of retardant. The average load of the Korean War vintage P2Vs, which make up the bulk of the federal fleet, is less than 2,000 gallons.

Neither CAL FIRE nor the U.S. Forest Service have exclusive use contracts for the DC-10s, so they operate on a call-when-needed basis, which results in a slower activation, higher per day costs, and less assurance that they will be available.

The USFS call-when-needed and exclusive use contracts for Very Large and Large air tankers all expired on December 31, 2012, but some were extended for a few months. Several weeks ago the agency awarded eight new exclusive use contracts for large “legacy” air tankers, with seven of them being Korean War vintage P2Vs, but it has been 520 days since they first began an attempt to contract for large “next generation” air tankers, with no results yet.


Tanker 910 at Rapid City

Tanker 910 lands at Rapid City, April 23, 2013.

Tanker 910 lands at Rapid City

One of the DC-10′s, Tanker 910, visited Rapid City today. On the way back from scheduled maintenance in Michigan, they still have two more stops scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, before they head home to California. These times are approximate and subject to change.

  • Billings, Montana, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Missoula, Montana, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

These photos were taken by Bill Gabbert. Click on them to enlarge.

DC-10 air tanker


Tanker 910
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Revised schedule for the DC-10 air tanker visits


DC-10 air tanker Captains Jack Maxey (left) and Kevin Hopf will pilot the aircraft to four cities in the United States this week. (Photographed for TheAge by Paul Rovere in Victoria, Australia, December, 2009.)

The schedule for the visits of Air Tanker 910 to airports in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana that Wildfire Today told you about last week has been revised due to snow at Rapid City. (An air tanker should not have to suffer the indignity of de-icing.)

The revised schedule for the DC-10 operated by 10 Tanker Air Carrier is as follows, but keep in mind that the times are approximate, subject to change, and could vary by up to 30 minutes or so. All times are local.

Tuesday, April 23

  • Brainerd, Minnesota, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Rapid City, South Dakota, 2 p.m., and departing the next morning

Wednesday, April 24

  • Billings, Montana, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Missoula, Montana, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

At this time there are no planned tours for the public, but they may be able to see the DC-10 through a fence or from other locations.