Fire fighting supertankers to put out forest fires; All you need to know about the method by planes

In the wake of forest fires, experts used a much better and easy-to-operate method to put off fires in case of a raging situation. Many methods to put off the fires have been planned and even executed by the experts, especially during the vast and sudden spread of fire in the Amazon forest. 

Earlier in 2019, Colorado-based Global SuperTanker sent its Boeing 747-400 firefighting plane to the South American country Friday to conduct firefighting missions over part of Bolivia’s portion of the rainforest. 

Moreover, during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, firefighting supertankers were used to help the exploded area and region with huge support from different countries. The world’s largest firefighting supertankers have been used in many difficult situations including Amazon forest fires, Australia fires, etc. 

What is an aerial firefighting supertanker?

To help put out wildfires, planes drop hundreds to thousands of gallons of water or other chemicals into and around fires. In most cases, specially designed fire retardant aircraft, Foss-Check, which is mainly a mixture of water and manure, are abandoned to prevent the spread of fire.

Earlier, reports have been published on the firefighters which helped the Amazon forest fires to get off during the devastating spread.

One of the best firefighters, as per reports and its features is the 747 supertanker. The 747 Supertanker was one of several aerial firefighting air tankers derived from various Boeing 747 models. The aircraft was rated to carry up to 19,600 US gallons of fire retardant or water. They were the largest aerial firefighting aircraft in the world. 

How does a plane help to put off fire

Most often, planes drop fire extinguishers known as phos-check. Containing approximately 88% water, 10% fertilizer, and 2% other chemicals, this material is specially formulated to prevent the spread of fire. The planes and fire retardants are there to assist. It is not predictable how long does the fire spread the forest areas, and if the spread happens, then it might go very quickly and hazardously.  This is the issue with the wildfires. At this moment, aerial firefighting is done to help create a blockade of flame retardant in the fire’s path, blocking it from growing and spreading out of control.

As the content in the plane that is being dropped off includes water, fertilizer, and other chemicals, it is, therefore, difficult for the trees and plants to get affected by the fire further. Sometimes, the supertanker only contains water, and in that case, the plane drops to water in huge quantity resulting to pour it over the shades of fires in the area.

In most cases, fire retardant is used instead of water because they’re trying to contain the fire rather than extinguish it. And fire retardant is much better at containing a fire and stopping the spread of it than just pure water is.

The B 747 supertanker was used to save the region from catching fire to a certain extent and it helped very well. In December 2010, the Supertanker was deployed to Israel to fight the Mount Carmel forest fire. On June 9, 2011, the Supertanker was also deployed to fight the wallow fire in the US state of Arizona which was at 607 square miles (1,570 km2) burned and uncontained at the time. The Global SuperTanker was deployed to northern California to assist with the out-of-control Camp Fire in Butte County. 

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Moreover, the pilots who fly with the planes will also be given instructions and directions to use the flight with proper care. Pilots are also directed to avoid landscapes with known plants that are endangered since the substance has the potential to kill them off.  

According to the US Forest Service, there are particular types of planes that are being used for fire fighting. Single-engine air tankers, large air tankers, water scoopers, smoke jumper airplanes, etc. The planes in some class categories can deliver 2,000 to 4,000 gallons of water or fire retardant at a time.