Prescott Airport is a hive of activity in support of the Gladiator Fire fighting effort. “With up to 6 fixed wing tankers and 6 helicopters operating at the Prescott Airport, a small community of fire personnel and support vehicles has emerged at various locations around the airport,” says airport manager Ben Vardiman.
According to Vardiman, the airport has closed the crosswind runway on the west end and the adjacent ramp for use by helicopters and their support equipment. “The fixed wing aircraft are utilizing the USFS Tanker base facility as well as the south ramp parking apron and Legend Aviation for maintenance and fueling support. This collaborative approach has allowed the City of Prescott to fully utilize its resources at the airport in support of this critical mission.”
On-going airport construction activities, adds Vardiman, have not significantly impacted the USFS operations.
Vardiman reminds onlookers at the airport that there is no parking or standing along Clubhouse Drive at the end of the runway. “This area is a critical safety area and could be utilized in the event of an aircraft emergency. People wishing to view the tanker operations may do so from the safety of the terminal parking lot located at 6500 MacCurdy Drive.”