Wildfire-fighting single-engine air tankers to practice Thursday in Salem

An airplane makes a water drop on the South Valley Fire burning near Dufur, Oregon on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (Chopper 2/KATU)

SALEM, Ore. — Two single-engine air tankers will fly from their base in Prineville to Salem on Thursday for fire suppression training.

"This annual training provides opportunity for Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) personnel to prepare for fighting fires in and around northwest Oregon during the 2019 fire season," state forestry says. "Staff on site at the McNary Airfield will practice loading the SEATs with water-enhancing gel while personnel in a field location practice communicating with aircraft from the ground."

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The planes and their pilots are under contract with the Oregon Department of Forestry, which this year marks a century of using airplanes to fight fires and manage Oregon's forests.

"Since August of 1919, aviation resources have been used to support boots on the ground suppression efforts, detection of wildfire, insect and disease surveying, and logistical missions," the agency said.

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Watch for the planes to arrive between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Practice loading the planes will take place until 11 a.m.

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