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C-130s in firefighting effort grounded


At least two people died when a National Guard C-130 crashed in South Dakota on Sunday, prompting officials to ground several other C-130s being used to fight wildfires. The most recent crash occurred about 80 miles southwest of Rapid City in very rugged terrain, but there was no immediate indication of what went wrong. There were six people aboard the plane, which was equipped with a 3,000-gallon belly tank for dropping water and fire retardant. The crash is the latest this season that has limited the number of aerial tankers available for fighting fires. Several more that President Obama called into service won’t be ready for deployment until mid-August. Until then, with the seven remaining military C-130s grounded, there are only 14 aerial tankers available nationwide for forest fires. Several Lockheed P-2Vs remain grounded following a fatal crash last month.