Fire Boss planes ready at Deer Park Airport - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fire Boss planes ready at Deer Park Airport

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The Fire Boss is an important part of our region's fire fighting team. The Fire Boss is an important part of our region's fire fighting team.
DEER PARK, Wash. -

This summer, the Deer Park Airport is home to two extra planes.

"It's an 802 air tanker with amphibious floats," explained pilot Eric Johnson.

Also known as, the 'Fire Boss,' these planes are an important part of our region's fire fighting team.

"Some people think airplanes put out fires but we don't," explained Fire Boss pilot Eric Johnson. "We just knock it down so it's safe for the ground guys to get in there and get it done."

There are only seven of these planes in the entire country, and the reason why they work so well in and around Spokane is because there is a lot of water available to scoop.

"We can work on large fires, but generally these are used for initial attack," said Johnson. "Getting to a fire while it's small and knocking it back."

Johnson said he's not ready to predict what this summer could bring, but right now, it looks like he'll be flying high in the sky a lot.

"This is my 25th year in fires, and on the third season I made a promise I wasn't going to say what it was until October," he said, "but all the indices look like it'll be pretty hot."

Johnson added, it is very helpful when boaters move out of the middle of lakes and rivers when Fire Bosses are out, trying to collect water to do their jobs.

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