The U.S. Forest Service will be using aircraft from Missoula's Neptune Aviation to fight forest fires again this year.

USFS Chief Tom Tidwell announced the "legacy large airtanker exclusive-use" contracts this week. According to a Forest Service news release, two companies will provide eight large airtankers to support firefighters through the 2013 fire season.

Neptune Aviation will provide six prop-driven P2V tankers and one jet turbine-powered BAe-146 airtanker. Nevada-based Minden Air Corporation will provide one P2V aircraft.

The P2V tankers each carry 2,000 gallons of retardant and the BAe-146 carries about 3,000 gallons of retardant.

The Forest Service is looking at contracts for the "next generation" airtankers, which are jet-turbine powered. Those contract decisions are expected within weeks.