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Station Fire still threatens Mount Wilson

Giant air tanker drops water, firefighters set backfires

Posted: September 1, 2009 6:47 p.m.
Updated: September 1, 2009 6:37 p.m.
 
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A giant amphibious air tanker has made a huge water drop on flames on Mount Wilson northeast of Los Angeles.

The flying boat bombarded the peak Tuesday to extinguish flames from a sprawling wildfire that could endanger the historic Mount Wilson Observatory and adjacent TV, radio and cell phone towers serving the region.

Firefighters have been working to protect the facilities, including setting backfires.

Country fire officials expect the fire to reach the top of Mount Wilson tonight or early Wednesday morning.

The tanker is one of a handful of Martin Mars seaplanes built for the Navy in World War II and now in use as firefighting aircraft.

The four-engine airplane with a 200-foot wingspan can scoop up more than 7,000 gallons of water from a lake or the ocean. The aircraft has been on standby at Lake Elsinore.

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