The super scooper is a breed of firefighting planes that is new for many states this wildfire season, including Montana. Its ability to timely dump an immense amount of water on a wildfire makes it an asset in many wildfire conditions. But its water sources of lakes across the country means dipping into waters infected with invasive aquatic species.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was first to use water scooping planes in wildfires in the country. It wrote the book on their protocols.
“We do have spiny water flea, which can be difficult to see,” Minnesota DNR Assistant Wildfire Aviation Supervisor said. “They look just like a little piece of cotton or lint. The Fire Bosses especially, their floats are all white, so it’s a challenge to see them. But the hot water kills them, or the other method is to let them dry for 24 hours.”