Tanker Airplanes Used Against Wildfires Leaving Knoxville

Chattanooga (AP) -- The US Forest Service says it's moving tanker airplanes used to fight wildfires from Knoxville's airport to the one in Chattanooga.

Forest Service spokesman Terry McDonald says the Southern Appalachian Air Attack Base outgrew available space at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base.

McDonald says Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport has room to expand and the planes will be relocated there by autumn.

The operation will continue to serve East Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, and may be called to serve parts of Alabama and Mississippi.

Forest Service Fire Management Officer Eddie Holt said that during the spring and fall fire seasons, there is always one and sometimes up to five air tankers operating out of the base.

The aircraft are privately owned.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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