The Colorado Springs-based Global SuperTanker is helping douse wildfires raging in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest as global alarm rises over destruction there.
Deploying the world’s largest aerial firefighting plane is a down payment on resources being pledged to Brazil from around the planet as world leaders pitch in to fight the massive wildfires.
The Amazon, which spans across eight countries and covers 40% of South America, produces 20% of earth’s oxygen. The National Institute for Space Research, Brazil’s space research center, collected data that shows an 80% increase in wildfires for the country this year compared to last. This year’s increase in blazes has ravaged Brazil and surrounding countries with smoke, NASA imagery shows.
On Friday, President Trump offered the United States’ assistance in fighting the flames.
Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil. Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before. I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
The Boeing 747-400 SuperTanker carries 18,600 gallons of fire retardant while traveling over 600 mph, according to the company’s website. By comparison, a Peterson Air Force Base firefighting C-130 aircraft can carry up to 3,000 gallons of water or retardant.
The SuperTanker company has contracts with Colorado Springs, El Paso County and other Colorado counties.
“Operating from its base in Colorado (S)prings, the SuperTanker can reach virtually any point in North America in approximately 4.5 hours,” the tanker’s website reads.
Last year, the SuperTanker was deployed to northern California to help take control of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season in the state’s history.
In Brazil, the Supertanker will face it’s most difficult challenge to date. Several news agencies reported that as many as 80,000 individual wildfires are raging across the rain forest. Experts have cited climate change, deforestation and a deep drought that lifted last year as contributing causes.
Meeting in France, the leaders world’s seven most prosperous nations, including president Trump, were working on an assistance deal for Brazil.