It's a shame, said the Colorado Springs city
manager, about the US Forest Service's failure
to bring on the most powerful, proven firefighting
airplane in the world; the IL-76 waterbomber.

A description of the airplane and it many variants
can be found at Wikipedia online encyclopedia

The last paragraph; the bottom line, if
you will, contains as good a summary of the
status of this airplane in the west as so few
words will allow. Of course, you'd need to visit the
links (2) and the picture (1).

If you are inclined to critcize the airplane without
even seeing it for yourself, you fool nobody. The only
Forest Service person actually to have seen it perform,
and who wrote up a 35 page review follwing a UK demo, is dead.

Perhaps the Forest Service was represented at this NATO-Russia disaster exercise
in 2002:

If they were, they sure aren't telling anybody about it.