SACRAMENTO — As fires rage in the Amazon rainforest, a supertanker is working to quash the flames.
“We have one aircraft. It’s the first of its kind of its size. It’s 19,200 gallons; that’s the water that we carry,” said Dan Reese, the president of Global SuperTanker Services LLC.
Reese spoke with FOX40 Monday from a command center in Bolivia. His 14-person crew traveled there from Sacramento on Wednesday and are now trying to help the Bolivian government get a handle on the thousands of fires burning across South America.
“It’s a different ballgame. We don’t go put out fire by ourselves, we knock down fire,” he explained. “Sometimes it stays out, oftentimes it doesn’t. We decrease the size of it so that the firefighters can go put it out.”
Their crews make roughly five water drops a day, often traveling hundreds of miles away.
“In the United States, we typically would remain on one fire until it is controlled and done,” Reese said. “Here that has not been the case. Here there’s just so much fire.”
Their firefighting plane is stored at McClellan Air Force Base year-round, ready to deploy across California and the world.
They helped fight the Camp Fire, the Tubbs Fire and the Carr Fire.
But the flames they’re facing in the Amazon are unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
“Lots and lots of fire with very few assets,” Reese told FOX40. “We’re the only airtanker that I know of. You know, the challenges for us down here is educating them on how best to use our tool just because they’re not used to it.”
Reese said firefighters in South America are doing their best but the country is simply not prepared to handle this many fires at one time. He’s hoping more resources are called in.
But in the meantime, his crew is hard at work trying to prevent the Amazon from going down in flames.
“Nobody wants to see these fires burn,” he said. “So, the quicker they’re under control the better for me and the better for the world at this point.”
Global SuperTanker has a two-week contract with the Bolivian government but the government has the option to extend it.