Before joining the fight against Colorado’s wildfires the SuperTanker 747 needs federal approval |

Before joining the fight against Colorado’s wildfires the SuperTanker 747 needs federal approval

John Aguilar
The Denver Post
photo - Colorado SuperTanker
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JUNE 13: Global SuperTanker Services LLC's B747-400 firefighting Supertanker, the world's largest firefighting plane sitting on the tarmac in Colorado Springs June 13, 2018.
Joe Amon | The Denver Post

Perhaps the biggest obstacles between Colorado’s wildfires and a plane that can drop nearly 20,000 gallons of water at a time?

A software install and Uncle Sam’s seal of approval.

Despite state fire officials recently signing a contract with Global SuperTanker Services LLC to use its Colorado Springs-based Boeing 747 — a former passenger jet retrofitted to carry 19,200 gallons of water or retardant and dispense it in a matter of seconds — the company needs the federal government’s blessing before it can fly fires in the state.

That’s because most wildfires are fought on an interagency basis by multiple entities — state, federal and local — and the landscape itself is a mosaic of property held privately or overseen by the state or federal government.

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