CHARLOTTE—Approximately 36 members of the North Carolina Air National Guard leave for Colorado Saturday morning to help fight massive wildfires.
The unit will be battling the fires within the next 24 hours. Members of the 145th Airlift Wing found out Friday they needed to deploy over Colorado Springs, where the worst of the fires are burning. The planes that will take off from Charlotte-Douglas International can drop 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in five seconds.
The aircraft are equipped with the modular airborne firefighting system; which is called in when regular water tankers are not fit to do the job. The planes can drop enough water to cover an area that is 0.25 miles long and 100 ft. wide. The tanker can be refilled within 12 minutes.
About half of the federal government's firefighting resources are currently in Colorado. President Obama has declared the area a Federal disaster, which gives authorities more flexibility to call in resources such as these.