The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) aviation program plays a significant role in fire fighting efforts each year on public lands, not only across Arizona, but wherever pilots and firefighters may be called to duty throughout the nation. But the BLM’s aviation management program reaches far beyond its heroic firefighting efforts. The program’s mission includes supporting wildland fire and prescribed fire operations, disaster response, wildlife census, wild horse and burro operations, habitat management, range survey, cadastral survey, law enforcement, range land management, photo mapping and search and rescue.
To accomplish the fire program’s mission, pilots utilize a variety of aircraft including helicopters, Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), heavy airtankers, air tactical aircraft, smokejumper aircraft and large transport aircraft.
It is critical that BLM’s wildland firefighters have a variety of effective tools at their disposal. The agency has used SEAT firefighting aircraft for many years to perform outstanding work in sustaining wildland firefighting operations. The aircraft can utilize their inherent speed, mobility, and strength during initial and extended attack situations. SEATs are highly mobile and can be set up at remote bases and local airstrips, decreasing turnaround time between drops.