Call for Action: Can SuperTanker help with Colorado fires?
With several fires burning in Colorado, we are asking why the Global SuperTanker is not helping out. We sat down with the owners of the aircraft, which is housed at the Colorado Springs Airport.
The SuperTanker is capable of dumping more than 20,000 gallons of retardant. Right now, we have several devastating fires burning in our state, and yet, the Global SuperTanker hasn't been called out.
"Do you think the SuperTanker will be able to help out?"
"We would certainly hope so, that's what it's designed to do," said Bob Soelberg, the Senior Vice President and Program Manager of the Global SuperTanker. "The only thing that's restricting our ability to go out is the contracting situation."
Like we've been reporting, the SuperTanker has a 'call-when-needed' contract with El Paso and Douglas counties, and even the
But the state still hasn't signed off on its own deal.
"The contract with the state of Colorado is pending. It's in its final condition. We're expecting to have the copy ready to sign, hopefully later this week, if not the first of next week," said Soelberg.
The aircraft is still working on a contract with the U.S. Forest Service, too, which would allow it to be used on federal land anywhere in the country.
"How frustrating has it been?"
"It's been extremely frustrating. We've been ready for some time. Now that the season is here, we're ready to get going."
“It’s not just a lost revenue situation, it’s a lost ability to help our neighbors," he added. "We didn’t get into this business just to fly; we all have a motivation to help, and this is a significant tool in that sort of response.”
They hope to have a contract with the U.S. Forest Service by the end of the summer, but that could be expedited because of the number of wildfires we're seeing across the country. We'll keep you updated.