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Firefighting Aircraft at Santa Maria Airport
updated: May 06, 2014, 9:25 AM

Source: Office of Emergency Management

A DC-10 and other firefighting aircraft are stationed at the Santa Maria Airport air tanker base about a month earlier than usual because of the weather. The drought, plus hot, dry and windy conditions, are a concern for firefighters. The planes were brought in last week because of red flag warnings in southern California. "Aircraft are more effective in initial attack, the early stages of a fire before it gets up and takes off and gets large, and they cool the fire off for ground resources, hand crews and engines to be able to work close and extinguish the fire," said Mark Nunez of the U.S. Forest Service." The DC-10 can carry about 12,000 gallons of retardant, which can be spread over a mile-long area. It can also be used on fires as small as five acres. The planes are usually on the Central Coast through November.


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