Air tankers draw a crowd at Broomfield airport

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BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- The Rocky Mountain Metropolitan airport was busy Sunday, and so were the onlookers standing outside its fence, watching the action.

"I'm one of the local tanker groupies," said Paul Buckner. "Yesterday I was in the mountains four wheeling, and we were there as (the fire) started blowing up."

Runway 29R is an important one at the airport as air tanker after air tanker lands, refuels, reloads and then goes back to work.

The pilot's job is simple. They must find the fire line and drop red flame-retardant in front of it.

"Without air support those firefighters, they're in a mess," said Shilo Gardner. He got the call Saturday night while he was in Reno, Nevada.

Colorado ordered three tankers of flame retardant. Eleven hours later, Gardner was at the airport unloading. "We come, unload, and turn around," he said.

At the airport, onlookers brought cameras, radios and children to see the work happening.