Evergreen’s 747 Supertanker assigned to fires in Mexico

747 dropping in Haifa Israel Dec 5 2010
File photo of the 747 dropping in Haifa Israel Dec 5 2010

Evergreen’s 747 Supertanker is en route to Mexico to help suppress five fires that are burning in the state of Coahuila, which shares a border with Texas. The aircraft departed Pinal Air Park near Tucson this afternoon and arrived at Lackland Air Force base near San Antonio, Texas at 5:21 MT today.

Steve Daniels of Evergreen told Wildfire Today that he expects the 747 to make its first drops later today. Lackland is about 140 miles from the fires, 15-20 minutes in a 747, so the Supertanker will be based at Lackland and will be reloading retardant there also. The Supertanker cruises at 500-550 knots (575 to 632 mph), which will mean the ship can do turn-arounds in about an hour, that is, depart Lackland, travel to the fires, drop, return, and reload. Evergreen has arranged for ICL Performance Products to have four to five trucks waiting at Lackland with tanks of already-mixed retardant.

Daniels said the Supertanker will be working through Conafor, the Comisión Nacional Forestal.

As far as we are aware, the last time the 747 was used on a fire was in December, 2010, when it made several drops on a wildfire in Israel.

Map of Mexico and Texas fires 4-12-2011
NASA image, showing the fires in southwest Texas and the Mexican state of Coahuila, April 10, 2011 at 11:30 p.m. MT.

Below is more information about the fires in Mexico, from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Mexico Seeks Help from U.S, Canada to Battle Forest Fires

MEXICO CITY – Mexico requested the help of Canada and the United States to try and put out the fire that has already burned more than 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) of brush and forest in the northern state of Coahuila, Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said Monday.

“Never in contemporary history, have we (had) a fire that extends over practically 70 percent of the territory of the country’s fires. We’ve never had that,” he said in an interview with Efe.

He explained that the area affected by the blaze “is not solid forest” but rather “ecosystems that have lived for thousands of years with the presence of electrical storms,” like the one that started this fire.

The area is comprised of “environmental management units for the conservation of forest life” where there are bears, abundant deer, wild pigs and assorted wild birds.

The fire broke out on March 16 and it is still largely out of control of the 1,000 firefighters who have been mobilized and sent to the area to attempt to quell it.

Since last week, some 103 million pesos ($8.7 million) have been allocated to rent specialized firefighting equipment including a Boeing-747 cistern plane that can dump 76,000 liters (20,000 gallons) of water.

Funds will also be made available to rent four Air Tractor airplanes and six helicopters, as well as to buy tools, supplies and equipment for the firefighters.

In addition, the help of the United States has been requested since that government has considerable ability to deal with such emergencies, Elvira said.

Washington was asked on April 6 to provide “heavy airtankers” to dump water on the fire in keeping with a 2003 bilateral accord.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

14 thoughts on “Evergreen’s 747 Supertanker assigned to fires in Mexico”

  1. Back off and let it burn. What is there to lose? Livestock and a few lean-tos here and there? There are very few people who live out in that part of Mexico. Mostly owned by wealthy elites. Spend a few bucks to buy the lost livestock and limit the risk of aviation missions over a super remote area. More damage will be done fighting the fires than leaving it alone. It will be green by mid July once the rains start.

  2. Sounds like a Fed fire here in the U.S. Wait to its 185,000 acres then panic and take action.

  3. We’ve got to consider the fire’s proximity to the US border and implications that may have on our border safety. Additionally, fighting a fire so close to home will always facilitate good press for the Supertanker, which may lead to it being sought after on more homeland fires.

  4. the 747 the dc-10 are on the ground in texas. texas wants to use the free C-130’s as a news caster said today. as homes burn and the faimlies of the guard air force guys. Texas should have the balls to stand up and protect their people from fire or be pepaired to help them self or pay to have help. It is not hard, we will help.

  5. Protecting your family and property has nothing to do with aircraft useage. It is all politics and money. Politians do only that is required to keep your vote and keep you off their back. Make sure you take your insurance agent out to lunch and be in compliance with local fire laws.

  6. I wouldnt save the Mexican people if they were in front of me and I had a hose. Lets see, kid napping, Drug smuggling, US invasion, yeah, sounds like they will be less of a threat to the US. paybacks a bitch.

    1. I would take the paycheck from the Mexican Goverment. This will help keep the planes in the air and bring $$$ to the USA,and suport privte CO. that have bought ,biult , and maintan the aircraft and other inovations that cost a lot. thank you for reading this.

  7. While down on the border the last couple of weeks I watched the Mexican cable TV news and they showed people fighting the fire with branches and sticks.

    Having private companies come in and provide help seems like a good way to do things.

    Sending non-mexican crews in is dangerous, from a couple of reliable sources I have. Hopefully the bad guys will not shoot at the aircraft.

  8. FREE C130’s? Who in the world thinks that using any aircraft is free? Raise your hands, come on let us see who the idiots are so that we can put you in the government.

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