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Updated Apr 22, 2013 - 8:09 am

Airliner could turn firefighting tanker for summer

PHOENIX -- A pair of modified McDonnell Douglas DC-10s could be used to carried thousands of gallons of retardant to bomb fires in Arizona this summer.

"The DC-10 can dump the same amount of fire retardant on a fire in one shot that it would take smaller aircraft 4-5 flights to carry out," said Rick Hatton, president and CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier.

The tanker, which normally has chartered American Airlines and Continental passengers, was used during the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona two years ago and helped save the community of Greer.

"Quite often you're just trying to prevent the fire from moving to someplace you don't want it to be in. You're not really putting it out, you're blocking it," Hatton said. "A freeway, ocean or river is good for that and if you don't have that, you need to do it artificially and that's what this tanker does quite well."

Hatton's DC-10s have flown on more than 125 fires in 12 states as well as two foreign countries in the past seven fire seasons. The tanker flew on seven wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico last summer: Little Bear Fire, 257 Fire, Grand Fire, Poco Fire, Six Shooter Fire, Fox Fire and 177 Fire.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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