While our eyes burn from the haze of a distant fire, and smoke rolls across Wyoming from our state and Montana, it is a good time to tip our hats to one of the most important innovations in Wyoming fire fighting— the aerial tanker.

Near Greybull, Wyoming and a little west on highway 14 toward Cody, there is a rest stop on the outside of town. Behind that rest stop is a little museum with some of the oddest planes anyone will ever see.

These airplanes were repurposed to fight fires back in the day when dropping water or fire retardant from an airplane was a new idea. Experimenting meant unusual adaptations that will leave you scratching your head.

Even the airplane names are strange, like the PB4Y-2 Privateer Tanker 126. The C-119 Flying Boxcar or the Twin Beech 18 (C-45). 

These early pioneers invented and paved the way for what has become an exact science today.

The work was dangerous but the men involved knew the risks and were excited by it. The Museum of Flight And Aerial Fire Fighting pays tribute to their hard work and innovation.

Visitors can climb inside these amazing old airplanes to better imagine what flying them over a Wyoming fire might have been like.