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Pilots Talk About Fighting Fire From The Sky

When it comes to fighting fires, Jim Watson knows, time is of the essence.

When it comes to fighting fires, Jim Watson knows, time is of the essence.

"Within six minutes, we can be loaded and in the air going to the fire at about a hundred and eighty miles an hour," Jim Watson, one of the contract pilots said. 

Watson fights fires from the sky in the AT 802-F single engine air tankers, which landed in Amarillo about a week ago.

These single engine planes haul 750 galloins of fire retardant.

"We are very versatile, we're mobile, precise, and we're cost effective," Watson said. 

Watson says these smaller planes can take the place of P3 heavy air-tankers, also used to fight fires.

In places where larger planes aren't approved to go, the AT 802-F single engine air tankers can set up at remote locations.

They're approved for 150 airports across the state, and during this spring's active fire season, the regional fire coordinator says these aircraft make a big difference.

"We don't normally see them on a regular basis, it just goes by how the fire season is from year to year. And right now we do have the critical needs," Troy Ducheneaux, Regional Fire Coordinator said. 

Meeting a critical need to fight fires, that sometimes can only be stopped from the sky.

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