Wildfire Air Tanker Base In Boise Closes For The Season

Oct 15, 2012

Wildfires around Idaho kept air tanker bases around the state busy. Airplanes dropped more than a million gallons of fire retardant on fires this year.

The Boise Air Tanker Base is one of seven such bases in Idaho.  Les Dixon manages the Boise base. The job there is to load airplanes up with fire retardant and send them out to the front line of the wildfires.  “Our base alone, we’ve done 1,500,000 gallons for a total, we’ve done 752 loads have been flown out of the Boise base.”

Not all of that retardant was dropped in Idaho. Some of those loads went to Eastern Oregon.  Still, Dixon says 1.5 million gallons is a little above average for his base.  But he says that’s nothing compared to 1994. “I think that’s our record year in Boise, I know they did 2,800,000 gallons just out of Boise alone.  ’94 was an extremely bad fire year on the forest and BLM property.”

Dixon says the Boise Base closed operations at the end of September.  He says they can re-open if a major wildfire breaks out.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio