Air Tractor 802 Fire Boss

The city of San Diego has been provided free use of a maneuverable single-engine firefighting aircraft through July, the mayor’s office announced Thursday.

AT-802F “Fire Boss” firefighting craft. Image via YouTube.com

The AT-802F “Fire Boss” can scoop up water from a body of water near a fire, carry as much as 800 gallons and remain in the air for three hours. It’s owned by Aero Spray Inc. of Appleton, Minnesota.

“We all know that the fire season is year-round here in San Diego, which is why we are looking at new tools to bolster our firefighting forces,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Through this public-private partnership, we will test new ways to efficiently and effectively protect San Diego from the threat of wildfires.”

The aircraft has an advantage of being able to fly close to ground-level and near steep terrain.

“This aircraft is a valuable tool for us to test here in San Diego,” said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessy. “The capabilities of the Fire Boss are a good match for the terrain of our wildland urban interface and, while these areas are beautiful, they are hazardous when it comes to fire potential.”

Fire Bosses have been used around the U.S. and Canada but not too often south of Los Angeles. According to the mayor’s office, officials will evaluate the aircraft’s performance in Southern California.

— City News Service