Instead of a cargo of bored business men and excited holiday makers, this aged DC-10 was carrying 12,000 gallons, thats 45,000 ltrs of bright red liquid in a huge tank attached to the centre of the fuselage. This is the story of the fire fighting water bombers.


A vast DC10 converted to flying tanker operations


A forest fire


Mixing fire retardant


A fire lookout


The Morton Lake hotshots


The dangers of a wildfire are considerable, even during an evacuation


The dangers of manoeuvring a big aircraft at low level are considerable


Other aircraft are converted into water bombers like this PBY-6A Catalina


Helicopters deliver water from buckets


One of the few purpose built water bombers, the Canadair Superscooper


The magnificent Mars water bomber


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the USAF, John McColgan, signal mirror, DarrenRD, Tim Peterson, the USN, SSgt Ed Drew, Pierre Bona and Alex Juorio.