Boeing 747 Contracted to Fight Amazon Blaze

747 fight fire

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

A specially made Boeing 747-400 has recently been contracted by the Bolivian government to help fight wildfires in the Amazon. Once a passenger jet for Japan Airlines, the Global SuperTanker has been retrofitted to being able to carry up to 20,000 gallons of water and fire retardant in order fight wildfires.

The jumbo jet is capable of flying as low as 200 feet above ground level in order to dump thousands of gallons of water over the burning rainforest. Flame retardant would have been used instead, however government officials believe that the ecosystem has been damaged enough by the fires and that the ammonia based flame retardant may be too much for the environment.

However, the Global SuperTanker is more than just a 747, its an entire team. Out of the 15 person crew, there are two aircrews of three flying the 747 in shifts making about four flights a day.

The crew has been signed to operate the 747 for two weeks in Bolivia.

Based in Colorado Springs, Popularmechanics.com reports that the Global SuperTanker team has been called to fight fires all over the world, including in countries such as the United States, Israel, Chile, and Australia.

The crew mentions how the SuperTanker isn’t really designed to completely take out wildfires, instead it is used to weaken the flames so that firefighters on the ground can take control of the blaze.

“For our aircraft to be really effective, we work best in concert with firefighters on the ground,” said a Global SuperTanker crew member.