U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
The BLM has developed air facilities in Kingman, Safford, and Weaver Mountain, to carry out the agency’s fire program. A remote air strip and facility have been established in St. George, Utah to ensure protection of the Arizona Strip Fire Zone. In addition, BLM pilots use aviation facilities at existing airports and landing strips. Potential locations and their capacities are analyzed at the local, state and national levels to determine if an aircraft base can support BLM aviation needs. When a base is identified, specialists work with local airport authorities and governmental entities to either use the site as a temporary base, or in some cases, to develop a permanent BLM aviation facility at the airport.
The BLM’s Safford aviation facility is located at the Safford airport in Safford, Arizona. This air facility provides support for helicopter and fixed wing operations as well as retardant support for SEATs. An interagency air operations and dispatch center is located at the airport. Safford is also the host to the annual National BLM SEAT academy.
The Kingman aviation facility is located at the Kingman airport in Kingman, Arizona. This air facility provides maintenance for helicopter and fixed wing operations as well as retardant support for SEATs. The Weaver Mountain fire and aviation facility is located north of Wickenburg, Arizona. This is BLM-Arizona’s newest air facility and is host to a helitack crew and helicopter which supports aviation operations throughout central Arizona.
The St. George facility is located in Utah at the St. George municipal airport. This air facility is host to a helicopter crew and provides assistance to fixed wing operations as well as retardant support for SEATs. The Arizona Strip also has a remote airstrip facility that is utilized by SEATs, helicopters and fire engine crews.
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.
The BLM also utilizes commercial, charter, contract and federally owned aircraft to meet aviation needs. The bureau’s Aviation Management Directorate is responsible for the certification of pilots and aircraft used. Services are secured through formal exclusive use, Call When Needed (CWN) and Aircraft Rental Agreement (ARA) contracts.