If a forest fire happens in the Black Hills, a tanker plane is ready to go. The Single Engine Air Tanker arrived in hot springs on July 1st, which is later than normal. Last year the crew was out with the tanker plane fighting fires by June 23rd.
Firefighters inspect the plane, making sure it's ready to be put into action at a moment's notice.
"We just come in and do the inspection on the aircraft and on the equipment and get everything ready so if we do get a call we're ready to go," said Winston Cadotte, South Dakota Aviation Operations Officer
A crew made up of a pilot, manager, and loaders help get the plane up and running when a call comes in. After the first fire call goes out, they can be up in the air within six minutes.
"it is a team effort. Not one person. It's the whole team," said pilot Jim Fournier.
They mostly cover South Dakota, but sometimes fight fires in Wyoming and Nebraska. The tanker plane will be on the base and ready to go for 30 days.