Release Number: BMFO 2004-32
For Release: August 10, 2004
VISITORS CELEBRATE SMOKEY’S 60TH BIRTHDAY WHILE AT THE BLM AIR ATTACK BASE OPEN HOUSE
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Battle Mountain Field Office and the U.S. Forest Service hosted an open house on Sunday, August 8, at the Battle Mountain Air Attack Base (AAB) located at the Battle Mountain Airport. Over 100 people attended and learned more about BLM fire operations and celebrated Smokey Bear’s 60th birthday. The large sheet cake was donated by Etcheverry’s Food Town in Battle Mountain and Daily Delight provided air for the balloons. Women In Mining were also on site selling bottled water.
From 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., BLM and Forest Service fire crews and base personnel were available to explain equipment and answer questions. Several visitors participated in the base tour led by Michael Bassett, AAB Manager. One of the major highlights of this tour took place when smokejumpers invited Curtis Lee Booth of Gridley, CA, to “suit up” and pretend he was jumping out of an airplane. His mother, Mrs. Grissom from Battle Mountain, watched as her son put on about 100 lbs. of equipment and climbed aboard the grounded aircraft. Even though the team wasn’t 3,000 feet in the air, the simulation took on real proportions. Curtis said it was also “very hot” in the smokejumping gear.
On Sunday, pilots and a mechanic were with their planes to show off the capabilities of the following aircraft: 2 SEATs (Single Engine Air Tanker), a Cessna C-210-R6 used for reconnaissance, a Dornier 228 J-66 smoke jumper aircraft out of Boise, ID, and a 206L-III BELL
Helicopter. The large air tanker left Saturday night on a wildland fire mission. Also available were 2 BLM engines (TYPE III & IV) and 2 Forest Service engines (TYPE VI). Visitors could also see the retardant and water tanks that provide the ability of the AAB to mix 253,000 gallons of retardant should circumstances require it to be loaded on aircraft for fire suppression efforts.
Prize drawings were held hourly with 20 winners receiving items such as Smokey Bear water bottles, belt buckles, two-sided coins, large snow globes, coffee cups and pins and patches.
Smokey Bear has been working for over 60 years to remind Americans of the importance of outdoor fire safety and wildfire prevention. Smokey shook hands and gave hugs to visitors of all ages.
Comments from visitors included:
We enjoyed the base tour in 2001 and wanted to see the aircraft again.
Doesn’t Smokey get hot in this weather?
Can we talk with the smokejumpers?
Will the pilots take us for a ride in their planes?
If I help draw names, will I win a prize?
It was fun getting inside the planes.
I liked the cake.
Retardant tank area: Very nice and clean facility. (Referring to new paint, well labeled tanks and not a lot of disorganized wiring.)
Grateful for the community support. (Referring to business the AAB brings to Battle Mountain such as restaurant and hotel trade particularly.)
- BLM -