So far this fire season we've seen huge forest and rangeland fires in the West that often need an aggressive attack from the air. But an aging air fleet has been dangerous and even fatal for some fire fighters.
Lisa Clark is with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center and with the B-L-M's Prineville Distrist.
She was a guest Monday morning on 1110 KBND's "Your Town" segment.
"ITS BEEN INTERESTING - AFTER THE TRAGEDIES OF 1994 WITH FIREFIGHTERS DYING IN 1994- WE'VE SEEN A BIG SHIFT IN SAFETY ON THE FIRE LINES- THAT HAS A CORRESPONDING SHIFT THAT NOW THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO DIE ON THE FIRE-LINE IS THROUGH an AIR-CRAFT ACCIDENT NOW- SO ITS OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING WE'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT."
Clark says they are getting more help from the air. On the recent Ice Cave Fire they were able to use several planes called "Super Scoopers" for short. She says in just 10 seconds he Canada Air 215's can scoop up about 1000 to 1400 gallons of water from a nearby body of water and then quickly douse the flames.
Clark says local fire bosses are still predicting an average season in Central Oregon - which is about 450 fires, burning a total of around 50,000 acres. The bulk of the fire season usually hits here during the next couple of months.
If you'd like to hear the entire interview with Lisa Clark you can listen to a podcast on this website starting Tuesday afternoon.