Air tankers refuel at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport - CBS 5 - KPHO

Air tankers refuel at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

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There's no way crews could fight such large wild fires without help from the air.

Today, we took a closer look at these air tankers at their refueling station at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

These planes lay fire retardant in bulk - protecting structures and putting out massive areas engulfed by flames.

Even after the huge impact they have on these wildfires these pilots said the real heroes are on the ground.

"We're out there basically in support for the guys on the ground, and you know as hot as we are, and as tired as we're getting, it pales in comparison to what the guys and gals on the ground and the fire line are out there, you know, all day long," said tanker pilot Bryan Baker.

The tanker pilots told CBS 5 News it's all a very coordinated attack precisely planned but it can still be a very dangerous ordeal because of the heat and plumes of smoke.

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