Firefighting aircraft ‘Fire Boss’ to help battle wildfires in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) —San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy unveiled a firefighting aircraft called the “Fire Boss” Thursday to help battle wildfires.

The AT-802F "Fire Boss" is an amphibious, fixed-wing aircraft that can carry up to 800 gallons of water. It has a three-hour fuel endurance limit and the capability of taking off and landing on a body of water. The Fire Boss scoops water from a lake and quickly returns to the fire for a water drop.

A company called Aero Spray Inc. from Appleton, Minnesota is letting firefighters use the air tanker for free through July.

The new private-public partnership will bolster San Diego’s firefighting resources by testing a Single Engine Air Tanker for fire suppression in the county this summer.

“We all know that the fire season is year-round here in San Diego which is why we are looking at new tools to bolster our firefighting forces,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Through this public-private partnership, we will test new ways to efficiently and effectively protect San Diego from the threat of wildfires.”

The aircraft has an advantage of being able to fly close to ground-level and near steep terrain.

“This aircraft is a valuable tool for us to test here in San Diego,” said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessy. “The capabilities of the Fire Boss are a good match for the terrain of our wildland urban interface and, while these areas are beautiful, they are hazardous when it comes to fire potential.”

Fire Bosses have been used around the U.S. and Canada but not too often south of Los Angeles. According to the mayor’s office, officials will evaluate the aircraft’s performance in Southern California.

Categories: Local San Diego News