CalFire Contracting Tankers to Help Fight Trailhead Fire

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FORESTHILL -- The steep terrain around the Trailhead Fire makes the battle against the flames very difficult without the help of airplanes.

The buzz of planes flying overhead can be heard from miles away. Up close the airplanes are massive and equipped with resources to put a stop to the Trailhead Fire.

Captain John Gallaher has spent hours this week in his air tanker from Neptune Aviation fighting the Trailhead Fire. With smaller fires, the retardant is spread on the fire line, but because of the size of this fire, Gallaher's plane is doing an indirect attack.

"Putting retardant along those dozen lines and will let the fire burn up to that line or they will burn off of it and stop the fire," Gallaher said.

Gallaher's plane isn't the only one being used. CalFire contracted other air tankers, including a large one at McClellan Air Force Base that carries 12,000 gallons of retardant. That, along with the fleet of their other planes, are crucial given the terrain.

"It's in an incredibly inaccessible terrain there's just no way to describe it it's just jungle like out there to get our fire engines to this fire we literally have to have bulldozers build roads," said Brice Bennett with CalFire.

CalFire said an air attack instantly changes the environment and creates more humidity. While the fire keeps burning CalFire said the help from the air show will slow down the destruction.

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