Dauntless Air, an aerial firefighting company, has announced the addition of five aircraft to its Fire Boss fleet.

The growth comes amid increasing global recognition of the effectiveness of scooper-centric aerial firefighting strategies and the superior performance of the Fire Boss in wildfire operations.

In the United States, demand for the Fire Boss – also known as the Single Engine Scooper (SES) – has reached unprecedented levels, with a record number of new Fire Boss solicitations issued this past off-season.

Now in the U.S. there are a total of 29 Fire Bosses, which meet the compliance requirements of the Office of Aviation Services (OAS), in operation across 24 exclusive-use (EU) and 10 call-when-needed (CWN) contracts.

This is up from 15 EU and 7 CWN Fire Boss contracts from the year before.

As the most experienced, longest running, and largest operator of Fire Bosses, Dauntless holds a large majority of these contracts.

Many of the new contracts begin earlier in the season than previous years and were issued by states that have never before issued an EU Single Engine Scooper contract.

Internationally, fire agencies have ordered dozens of Fire Bosses to secure the future of their country’s aerial firefighting fleet.

In just the past 24 months, officials in Greece have ordered a record-setting 31 Fire Bosses, while Turkey and Slovenia have secured manufacturer contracts for 15 and four aircraft, respectively.

This global activity has also created additional demand on U.S. aerial firefighting companies with Fire Bosses to operate in Europe.

“In the U.S. and globally, fire agencies are acting on what we have long known: the Fire Boss is a game-changer in wildfire suppression,” said Brett L’Esperance, CEO of Dauntless Air.

“Growing demand for the Single Engine Scooper is no surprise, especially when it’s compared with the only other fixed-wing scooper available – which is 10 times more expensive to acquire and operate than the Fire Boss.

“As Fire Boss demand continues to grow, Dauntless is committed to ensuring that our fleet matches the need, and that our ongoing investments in training and technology enable us to remain the safest, most experienced, most reliable Fire Boss operator globally.”

Supporting this new global demand is mounting evidence demonstrating the reliability and effectiveness of the Single Engine Scooper in aerial firefighting operations.

The U.S. Forest Service’s 2020 Aerial Firefighting Use and Effectiveness (AFUE) study found that scoopers and helicopters achieved higher percentages of effective drops on wildfires compared to retardant-dropping air tankers.

The study also found that during Initial Attack (when a fire is smaller than 100 acres in timber or 300 acres in grass or shrubland), Single Engine Scoopers and Type 2 helicopters are the most effective platform available for delaying fires and reducing their intensity.

These findings prove the Single Engine Scooper’s ability to rapidly contain wildfires, helping create less taxing conditions for wildland firefighters on the ground while reducing devastation and mitigating the widespread health impacts of smoke from large wildfires.

As far back as 2012, the RAND Corporation recommended a scooper-centric aerial firefighting strategy for the U.S. Now, as climate change exacerbates the frequency and intensity of wildfires, more states and federal agencies are heeding the call for an increased focus on scoopers.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s clear that Single Engine Scooper-infused rapid initial attack is gaining ground around the world,” added L’Esperance. “By expanding our fleet, we are not only increasing our operational capacity but also reinforcing our commitment to leading the fight against wildfires wherever we’re needed.”
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