I was in Dalaman, Turkey last week to fly inside an Antonov An-32P "Fire Killer". The pilot and crew demonstrated how aerial firefighting works.
The Antonov An-32P has 2 large and powerful Ivchenko Progress AI-20DM turboprop engines and can hold 8,000 Liters of water in 2 external tanks. We departed Dalaman Airport on a training flight. The pilot releases the water just 40 meters over the target. It was a precision operation to release the water. Dropping water too high above the target would result in water evaporations.
The An-32 did some excellent maneuvering during the flight. It was loud and very hot inside the cargo hold. After the flight, pilot Arytem explained the challenge and dangerous nature of aerial firefighting operations.
Thanks to company XENA for providing access.