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Crowds Gather At Airport To Watch Planes Fighting High Park Fire

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An air tanker at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (credit: CBS)

An air tanker at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – The smoke from the High Park Fire is causing its own problems as smoke kept the air tankers grounded part of the day on Sunday.

As of Sunday night eight 20-person crews and other firefighters were on scene. Air resources included five single engine air tankers (SEATS); two Type 1 helitankers; two Type 3 helicopters; three heavy air tankers; air attack; and lead plane.

Approximately 15 engines are also on scene. A Type 1 management team has been ordered and is expected to take over management Monday morning. Additional ground, air, and engines have been ordered.

There was a steady flow of air activity at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield on Sunday. Aircraft from as far away as Canada, Montana and Nevada were at the airport to help fight the fire.

The aircraft will land for about 10 minutes as the ground crew comes in and replenishes loads of fire retardant to drop around the fire. In this case the planes fly about 20 minutes to the target, drop the retardant and then return for another pickup.

fire perimeter map transfe1 Crowds Gather At Airport To Watch Planes Fighting High Park Fire

(credit: CBS)

The large noisy planes attracted a crowd of people on Sunday. Some parents brought their children so they could see how people come together to help in an emergency.

“It’s important to me that she sees people working so hard to take care of our state and to fight fires,” father Ari Hoffman said. “This is an obvious reality for us, we live in Colorado; we’re sixth generation Denverites and the wilderness is important to us and the mountains are important to us.”

“These are some relatively old planes, they make a lot of great noise other than those little corporate jets that come in and out,” pilot John Doddson said. “We like the thunder of it all and watching the activity of the guys filling up the planes with the retardant.”

The helicopters fighting the fire are based near the burn area. The usually find water in nearby ponds, lakes, streams and rivers and pick up water to dump on the fire.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfire (Fourmile Fire) and largest wildfire (Hayman Fire) in Colorado history.

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