SANTA MARIA, Calif.
First responders fighting the Chimney Fire are getting aerial assistance from Santa Maria. Several air tankers and two DC-10’s are flying out the Santa Maria Public Airport.
Officials and people near the fire say that these aircraft are vital to getting this fire under control.
The planes started making the 83-mile flight to Lake Nacimiento within a couple hours of the fire breaking out Saturday afternoon. Eight air tankers and the two DC-10’s have been making several trips a day from the Santa Maria Public Airport to fight the fire from the air.
DC-10’s have been used in aerial firefighting since 2006. They’re typically used in rural areas that are spread out and can carry as much as 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant.
They can make it all the way from Santa Maria to Lake Nacimiento in about 15 minutes.
Local Lake Nacimiento rancher Jim Irving is grateful for their aerial attack.
“The most amazing was this DC-10, this giant bomber came in, I watched it 500 feet above the ground and dump its load,” Irving said.
Patrick Basch is an Air Tactical Supervisor out of the Santa Maria Airport. He’s been coordinating eight air tankers, including two DC-10’s, that have been making several trips a day.
“They’ll make trips based on the distance of the base to the fire,” Basch said.