Air Tankers Stationed In Grand Junction
Air tankers are in town and ready for action.
It's like when I lived in Kansas if it was a warm spring day and Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel was broadcasting from your town, it's wasn't a good sign. A quarter of the air tankers in the US and 40 firefighters are stationed at the Grand Junction airport. Like Jim and The Weather Channel guys, they're here because the danger is real. With hot, dry, and low humidity days comes the increased chance of wildfires. The air tankers are here and ready to rock should a fire break out.
Western Colorado has already experienced several fires. The Horse Park Fire in San Miguel County has 500 firefighters in action. Three of the tankers stationed here in Grand Junction flew over the fire for three days helping extinguish the blaze. "We're somewhere between 150 to 200 feet ideally above the ground when we let the retardant out of the aircraft,” said Jeff Wangensteen, a firefighting pilot. Each of the planes can hold up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant.
It's not normal to have these guys hanging around out here. "We're just kind of waiting for something to happen and then we can be there and be there before it gets too big," says one of the crew. The guys are here with this many planes confirms just how dry conditions are in western Colorado, and how serious the situation really is.