Nevada Air Guard activating air tankers early to fight fires

Local News

A Nevada air national guard aircraft (front) and an air national guard aircraft from the Channel Island (back) waiting to take off from Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., on Monday, October 29, 2012. California is sending out a hundred air guardsmen to assist in the search and rescue efforts of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo By Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Air National Guard is activating its airlift wing with air tankers more than a month sooner than last fire season to help fight wildland blazes that already have burned more than 780 square miles across 11 western states.

The National Interagency Fire Center requested one C-130 aircraft and aircrew from the 152nd Airlift Wing in Reno.

The wing’s commander says the activation highlights the military’s role assisting in firefighting efforts, especially with big fires coming earlier than usual across the West.

The specially fitted C-130 cargo compartments can drop up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in six seconds.

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