The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest says new tanks installed in Helena will help it better serve larger aircraft to combat wildfires.
The Helena Aviation Center recently installed new pumps: two 25,000-gallon tanks of liquid concentrate and one 25,000 gallon off-load tank. The larger tanks replace 10,000-gallon tanks and will give the Forest Service’s tanker base the capability to more effectively serve "Very Large Airtankers," or VLATS, used in wildfire suppression.
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In the 2017 Holmes Gulch fire that ignited a couple of miles southeast of Helena, a VLAT that was at the Helena Regional Airport was used to help slow the spread of the wildfire before it endangered homes.