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Helena gets new tanks to help large firefighting aircraft

Posted at 2:26 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 16:26:04-04

HELENA – The Helena Aviation Center, which serves as a tanker base for firefighting aircraft, recently received a significant upgrade.

According to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, the center installed new pumps, and two 25,000 gallon tanks for liquid concentrate and one new 25,000 gallon off-load tank.

In a Facebook post, officials say the upgrade will help the base more efficiently serve “very large air tankers” or VLATs.

VLATs are DC10 aircraft capable of dropping more than 8,000 gallons of fire retardant.

The Helena tanker base hosted one of the aircraft during the historic fires of 2017. National Forest representatives say it helped slow the Holmes Gulch fire that ignited just southeast of Helena that same year.