ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Two 3,000 gallon airplane tankers took off from Abilene Aero Friday morning to combat the fires in Boulder, Colorado.

The sun was just beginning to rise as the lead plane, two tankers and seven crew members loaded up for Colorado.

Wind gusts up to 115 miles-per-hour drove fire throughout the city of Boulder, destroying 1,600 acres of land and 370 homes.

KTAB/KRBC: Abilene Aero at Sunrise, loading up to help at Colorado fires, Dec. 2021

The two tanker planes carried 3,000 gallons of fire retardant, which once lined up, will drop it on the fire and head to the new tanker base in Colorado to refill.

However, Air Tanker Base Manager Mike Pedersen said that had it not been for Abilene’s tanker base being open, these two planes would have be out of commission.

“Right now, these two tankers are the only ones on contract at the moment,” Pedersen explained. “Because we are open here in Texas, we are able to support the surrounding areas, having the tankers in close proximity, so they can open JEFCO and have a place for them to load and return.”

JEFCO is the newly-opened tanker base in Colorado where they will re-fill.

Pedersen said if Abilene was not open, more than likely, the two tankers that took off would have been off-contract or sitting at their home bases in Washington and Oregon.

Unsure if the planes will return to Abilene this evening, Pedersen is in hopes that they will at least put a dent in the destruction caused by the fires.