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Wildland firefighting operations move raw water throughout the landscape. Climate change is resulting in more and bigger fires, fires are more intense and last longer, fires are suppressed in the wildland urban interface, and there is an increased reliance on aviation to put out fires. Aquatic invasive species interfere with the mechanical workings of fire equipment. These species also pose a significant ecological threat by hitchhiking on equipment and in the water that is used to extinguish fires.


Aquatic invasive species can be found in and on these types and other types of firefighting equipment:

  • Helicopters: Buckets, snorkels and internal tanks, and portable tanks

  • Fixed wing aircraft: Air tankers, single engine agricultural tankers, and “scooper” or “duck”aircraft, some of which can pick up and drop as much as 7,000 gallons of water on 4 acres in one drop

  • Ground-based: Engines, portable tanks, water tenders, and portable pumps/drafting



USFS and BLM Fire and Fisheries personnel recognize the importance of decreasing the threat and spread of aquatic invasive species through the implementation of these operational guidelines. The goal of the US Forest Service invasive species program is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, establishment, spread, and impact of invasive species across all landscapes and ownership.


Contact Information

James Capurso (, Regional Fisheries Biologist 503-808-2847
Shawna Bautista (, Regional Invasive Plant Coordinator 503-808-2697



By The U.S. Army - Michigan, Public Domain,

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