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DC-10 Redirected To Fight Houston-Area Wildfire

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Photo by Teresa Vieira for KUT News
A DC-10 sits at Austin-Bergstrom International airport before departing to fight forest fires north of Houston

A DC-10 jet airliner that was intended to dump 12,000 gallon batches of retardant on the Bastrop Complex wildfire is instead being used to help combat a brush blaze north of Houston.

The jumbo jet is already making repeated drops on the wildfire in Montgomery, Grimes and Waller counties, according to the Houston Chronicle.  That blaze has devoured more than 15,000 acres and is 60 percent contained. The Bastrop County fire is more than 34,000 acres and at last word was 30 percent contained.

Reporters today asked a Texas Forest Service spokesman why the plane was diverted to a fire that is half the size and twice as contained. He suggested the DC-10 would be more immediately useful to quell the blaze in East Texas.

"That aircraft that's at Austin is for use throughout the state. Our operations section is ready, should the conditions dictate, to request the DC 10," Texas Forest service incident manager Bob Koenig said.