Forest Service Ups Infrastructure in Helena for Firefighting Aircraft

July 12, 2019

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest says new tanks installed in Helena will help it better serve larger aircraft to combat wildfires.

The Helena Aviation Center recently installed new pumps: two 25,000-gallon tanks of liquid concentrate and one 25,000 gallon off-load tank. The larger tanks replace 10,000-gallon tanks and will give the Forest Service’s tanker base the capability to more effectively serve "Very Large Airtankers," or VLATS, used in wildfire suppression.

In the 2017 Holmes Gulch fire that ignited a couple of miles southeast of Helena, a VLAT that was at the Helena Regional Airport was used to help slow the spread of the wildfire before it endangered homes.

Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 @IR_TomKuglin


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