Coeur d'Alene Airport fueling the firefight - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Coeur d'Alene Airport fueling the firefight

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

Planes have been loading up with fire retardant as they tackle our local fires from the ground and the air. But what does it take to power that operation?

You've probably noticed the red retardant in the skies while crews fight wildfires. To give you an idea of how this year's fires compare to last year, crews at the Coeur d'Alene Airport say they've only used 10 percent of the retardant compared to this same day last year.

The busiest day for crews at Coeur d'Alene's aviation center was Monday, when pilots dumped 75,000 gallons of retardant on the fires burning in eastern Washington. On Tuesday, their first call didn't come in until 2 p.m. That's good news according to Aviation Officer Bud McConnaughey, who says spending less time in the sky means crews on the fire line are making progress.

"They're dealing with bigger flame lengths, digging bigger, wider lines... The danger is still there but not as much as last year's fires." McConnaughey said.

The plane, called a FireBoss, is now attacking the Yale Road fire, making 800 gallon runs around the clock. 

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