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Firefighter pilots make a pit stop in Boise during busy fire season

Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 19:05:31-04

Summer may be winding down, but fire season isn't. As firefighters continue battling flames around the region, one air tanker made a pit stop in Boise.

Wildfires burning throughout the west are keeping firefighters busy, as they battle flames from the ground and the sky. 

"This season has been quite busy," said First Officer Brian Biggerstaff with Neptune Aviation. "I'd say it's been busier than the previous year."

Captain Peter Nadon and First Officer Brian Biggerstaff fly a BA-146 from Neptune Aviation Service. It can hold up to 3,000 gallons of fire or retardant. 

"Probably a 700-mile radius, we can go anywhere with a load of retardant and take it to a fire," Nadon said. "So it's kind of like being a fireman in a regular firehouse, where we wait for the call, we get the call, and then we go."

Once they receive a call, they have a 15-minute window before take-off. 

Bouncing from state to state, or even to a different country, they say they never know where their work will take them.

"We don't know where we're going to be at the end of the day," Biggerstaff said. "We could have a fire 300 miles away and we could end up over there tonight, or we could end up three states away."

In a line of work with many unknowns, the two say one thing is certain -- there's always work to do during fire season.

"It's been a busy fire year so far...I think we've got over 200 flight hours so far, which for this time of year, is quite a few," Nadon said.