FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KPTV) – With fire season at Oregon’s doorstep, firefighters with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Forest Grove division got to practice fighting wildland fires with a new aircraft fleet.
Two Air Tractor AT-802 Fire Bosses landed at the Hillsboro Airport Tuesday so firefighters could get a briefing on the aircraft’s capabilities in the fire zone. ODF is on year two contracting these planes through Costal Airstrike and Tuesday’s training was a way for crews to get familiar with the aircraft ODF’s Aviation Manager, Neal Laugle, said.
“Many of the folks on the ground are not used to talking to aircraft and it can be a very nervous thing for your first time so this allows them to work with the pilots and the aircraft under a controlled situation,” Laugle said.
ODF’s contract with Coastal Airstrike lasts 10 years but over the tenure, they will be used on fire lines throughout the state. Michael Hutchins is a pilot of one of the Fire Bosses and he said these planes are more versatile than other firefighting air support.
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