Jumbo airtanker gets approval to fight US wildfires

Jumbo airtanker gets approval to fight US wildfires

(Hiroshi Ando, Global Supertanker Services via AP, File)

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials have given a giant airtanker capable of carrying 19,200 gallons (72,700 liters) approval to fight wildfires in the U.S., but a lack of contracts currently limits the aircraft to California and one county in Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Interagency Airtanker Board issued the 17-month interim approval on Tuesday.

Global SuperTanker Services CEO Jim Wheeler says the company is close to signing a contract with the state of Colorado and another state he declined to name.

The limited number of states is because the company doesn't have a contract with the U.S. Forest Service or contracts with other states.

Wheeler says he hopes to land a Forest Service contract to fly in more states because the worst of this year's wildfire season has yet to arrive.

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