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Mobile retardant plant means less travel for air support

Reported by: Sandra Gonzalez
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Updated: 7/12/2013 10:07 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- While the rains may have been helping, this fire fight is far from over, and it's taking a lot of teamwork both from the ground and the air.

A new tool for firefighters has been brought in to help fight the flames. The Carpenter 1 fire's containment is partially responsible because of fire fighting from aircraft, whether it's plane or helicopter.

And as the days pass, the Type One team brought in a mobile plant to bring fire retardant closer to the fire for helicopters to access.

"It's making the firefighters safer out on the fire line able to supply them the retardant and allow them to do their job," said Miles Hancock, of the Air Support Incident Management Team.

Out on Kyle Canyon Road, at the foot of Mount Charleston, a mobile fire retardant plant is operating. Here vast amounts of water are pumped into a tanker, that operates kind of like a blender. It mixes water and red colored powder fire retardant together like a shake.

"They blend the water and the retardant together like a five to one ratio, water to retardant and once it's mixed it's sent to a dip tank and deliver the retardant to the fire," Hancock said.

The red dip tanks are ready like wide cups for the heavy helicopters to suck up to 500 gallons of retardant. That's about 4,000 pounds of red liquid.

For the copters, they become very heavy, and then very light after dumping on the danger area. The retardant does not extinguish the fire, but rather lowers the intensity.

"What it does is it allows ground forces to safely approach areas of the fire, you know it brings the fire rate of spread down to a safe level where the firefighters can directly operate at the fire line," Hancock said.

And working from the air and the ground together can get carpenter one to calm down.

Currently 12 helicopters are being used to fight Carpenter 1.



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