MESA, AZ - A DC-10 air tanker is on standby at the Phoenix- Mesa Gateway Airport for the Slide Fire and other fires around the state, according to Dolores Garcia, a fire mitigation specialist with the Bureau of Land Management.
But she says the winds are preventing the tanker from doing its job.
"You think winds wouldn't affect it. But it affects the way the retardant falls from below the aircraft. If the winds are too heavy, it doesn't reach the ground effectively," said Garcia.
The air tanker, which used to be a 100-passenger seat jet before it was gutted out, holds up to 12,000 gallons of fire retardant, which will be dropped over the Slide Fire and other fires throughout the state once the winds calm down.
Garcia described the retardant as a fertilizer that will wet the vegetation in the area and hopefully slow down the fire.
Officials on the ground are still waiting for wind conditions to die down before taking off.