Rare US Firefighting Jet Stations in Montana

Massive jet was stationed in Helena after working to put out fires across Montana

By Tristan Scott

HELENA — A rare U.S. firefighting jet that’s one of just three in existence was stationed in Helena after working on fires across Montana.

The Missoulian reports the 171-foot-long (52-meter-long) DC-10 has run missions in Montana before, but this marks the first time the plane has landed in the state.

It worked to put out a fire south of Superior on Sunday and recently worked on another fire in Musselshell County.

Flight engineer Brad Pace is one of three crew members needed to fly the plane. He says the Helena Regional Airport was the only airport in the state designed to handle a plane of that size without any additional temporary infrastructure.

The plane holds about 11,000 gallons of retardant, which is about four times the capacity of the average tanker.

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