Record-breaking resources used to fight fires in Northstate


REDDING, Calif. - The humidity and rain from thunderstorms means air tankers were not called out from the Redding Air Attack Base Thursday.

The aircraft didn't take off because the storms helped firefighters get a leg up on the fires in the Northstate.

Before that, it was smoky skies over the past week that kept tankers on the ground.

"The visibility got so bad here that we weren't able to launch air tankers," Redding Tanker Base Manager Bob Frost said.

However, the skies and smoke cleared Wednesday.

"We had seven yesterday, so we're quite active. 40,000 gallons of retardant was placed on aircraft and delivered out to the firefighters on the line," Frost said.

Frost said the BAe 146 can carry up to 3,000 gallons, while smaller tankers can hold up to 1,200 gallons.

"This season seems to be one for the record books. Our total output for this base, we're at about 1.2 million gallons," Frost said.

The National Guard filled up the base as well to fight fires that prompted officials to declare a state of emergency.

Flights from Redding have been covering fires from Butte and Trinity counties, to Oregon.

Frost said with moisture and increased gains on the fires, they will regroup and look at areas they weren't able to before due to smoke.

"It's been quite the fire season, not just here in California, but Oregon, Washington, Idaho," Frost said.

Frost said if conditions change, they have tankers ready to go.

"We try to do as much as we can to support the firefighters out on the ground, because that's what our mission is," Frost said.

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