PIERRE - The members of South Dakota's congressional delegation are urging the U.S. Forest Service to consider using a soon-to-be retired Air Force aircraft to fight wildland fires in the Black Hills and other states in the Rocky Mountain region.

The congressional delegation says the Air Force plans to divest itself of up to 21 C-27J aircraft, and the Forest Service has the right of first refusal to acquire the aircraft without additional cost to taxpayers.

Republican Sen. John Thune, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson and Republican Rep. Kristi Noem say the aircraft would be placed at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City to help protect the Black Hills area from fires.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.