Air Tankers Returning to Southern OK

12-30-05 - For the 1st time since wildfires ravaged the Arbuckle mountains in 2000, southern Oklahoma will be the temporary home for an air tanker supplied by the US Forestry Service.

The plane will be stationed at the Ardmore Air Park, and will likely stay there until March. The need has arisen because the fire danger is so high.

The plane carries a red, sticky flame retardent that contains water and other chemicals. When dropped from the air, the retardent smothers the flames and contains the fire. Two similar planes from Ft. Smith aided firefighters in Bryan County on Thursday.

Firefighters say the plane is better than a Chinook helicopter because it can go up no matter the wind condition. It should arrive in Ardmore no later than Thursday.