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Five Firefighting Aircraft Stationed at Austin Airport

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Photo by Teresa Vieira for KUT News
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A DC-10 sits on the tarmac at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

A DC-10 jet airliner and four C-130 Hercules aircraft are being stationed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Austin).

“The right approach is to have federal aviation assets strategically prepositioned to deploy within hours instead of days,” Congressman McCaul said in a statement. McCaul is said to be considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. 

McCaul said he plans to hold a hearing into the overall response to the Bastrop fires. He chairs a subcommittee that oversees Department of Homeland Security operations.

A DC-10 arrived to ABIA last week, but it took two days for crews to outfit it with a device to spray retardant on wildfires. By the time the aircraft was operational, it was sent to battle a wildfire north of Houston.

Bastrop fire officials said at that point that the DC-10 would not have been as useful, because it would have required evacuating firefighters from the burn zone while they were trying to prevent hot spots and flare ups from burning undamaged structures.

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