CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Add another concern for the tanker plane pilots who bomb fire retardant around the wildfires raging in the West this summer — endangered species.
New rules adopted by the U.S. Forest Service dictate where fire retardant can and can't be used in dozens of national forests. The goal is to prevent fire retardant from harming protected plants and fish.
Forest Service officials insist the new rules won't hinder firefighting. Dan Snyder, president of Missoula, Mont.-based Neptune Aviation Services, says he agrees for the most part, though pilots will need to learn in advance where they can and can't drop retardant.
Documented cases of fire retardant killing fish are relatively rare. Fire retardant can harm endangered plants by acting as a fertilizer and encouraging other plant species to crowd them out.