BOISE, Idaho (CBS SF/AP) — Restrictions on the use of a 747 air tanker that played a key role in taming the deadly wine country wildfires last month have been lifted by the Government Accountability Office.

The accountability office on Thursday sided with Global SuperTanker Services in its protest against the restrictions placed on the plane’s use by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Colorado-based company challenged the Forest Service’s 5,000-gallon limit on air tankers that kept the 19,000-gallon Boeing 747-400 idle until late August.


After that it flew only in California where it played a major role in helping battle the historic wildfire outbreak in Sonoma and Napa counties that left 43 dead and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

The accountability office says the Forest Service’s decision to exclude the jumbo air tanker from competing for federal contracts isn’t reasonable.

Officials recommended the Forest Service revise its size limits and the company be reimbursed costs involved in making the protest.

Global SuperTanker CEO Jim Wheeler says he’s pleased with the decision.

  1. Marc Brenman says:

    The GAO has no authority to place restrictions on anything. It only studies matters and makes recommendations.