Colorado-based firefighting supertanker arrives in California to battle deadly wildfires

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado-based Boeing 747-400 supertanker has been deployed to California to help fight wildfires that have destroyed thousands of buildings and killed at least 25 people.

The Global SuperTanker dropped four slurry drops on Friday and more throughout the weekend.

The aircraft, which is the largest firefighting plane in the world, can carry 19,200 gallons (72,000 liters) of water, retardant or suppressant.

The worst of the blazes was in Northern California, where flames reduced the town of Paradise, population 27,000, to a smoking ruin days ago and continued to rage in surrounding communities.

The number of people killed in that fire alone, at least 23, made it the third-deadliest on record in the state.

The plane was sent to California earlier this year to fight fires in the state, despite wildfires that were burning in Colorado at the time.

The plane has not yet been used in Colorado. In fact, its missions in California last year were its first in the U.S. However, Global SuperTanker recently signed a call-when-needed contract with Colorado officials that is undergoing an approval process.

The company says the plane needs a software addition from the U.S. Forest Service before it can move forward.

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