Company Wants To Test Amphibious Russian Airplane To Fight Idaho Wildfires

Jul 9, 2013

Credit Oleg V. Belyakov / WikiCommons

A company aims to test an amphibious Russian firefighting plane this summer on one of Idaho's wildfires.

David Baskett, president of California-based International Emergency Services, hopes to eventually win lucrative U.S. government contracts for the Beriev BE-200 to assist in firefighting.

Last month, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter told Baskett he wants to observe the BE-200, which can fly 400 miles per hour and scoop 3,500 gallons of water from a lake within seconds.

Baskett says the BE-200 can strike at wildfires quickly.

But Otter said any visit should be coordinated with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

There, officials have so far been reluctant to employ such water-scooping aircraft.

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced plans to spend millions on faster, bigger tankers, but the BE-200 wasn't among winners.