© 2022 MTPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Watch: 'Super Scooper' Fire Plane Loads Up On Seeley Lake

A super scooper plane loads up at Seeley Lake on the evening of August 1, while fighting the Rice Ridge Fire visible in the background.
Eric Whitney
/
A super scooper plane loads up at Seeley Lake on the evening of August 1, while fighting the Rice Ridge Fire visible in the background.

Half boat, half plane, the super scooper glides over the water's surface and guzzles up to 1,200 gallons of water in 10 seconds, then drops its load on a fire. A tiny propeller plane flies nearby to give navigation and water deployment tips. Seeley Lake was closed to swimmers, boaters and fisher-people on the evening of August 1 to give this plane space to work as it lapped trips over the Rice Ridge Fire, visible in the background, which has put the nearby community on an evacuation warning.

Fire equipment like this that travels across the country and dips into Montana lakes has the potential to spread aquatic invasive species. Find out how Montana is fighting invasive hitchhikers on firefighting aircraft.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
Related Content