President Barack Obama signed a bill this week hastening the addition of seven military air tankers to the national firefighting fleet. But that very same day, two of them sat on a tarmac in Cheyenne, Wyoming, just 15 minutes away from the big blaze near Fort Collins, Colorado.
But why? The answer is regulations.
The Forest Service says it may request the military planes only
when all private tanker planes already are fighting fires or are
unavailable for use. The C-130 military crews insist they're ready
to roll on 48 hours' notice.
Obama signed the bill at the urging of Colorado's Congressional
delegation, which was quick to praise the move -- even though the
planes may not materialize.