Fires have air tanker base busy at Kingsley Field

An active fire season means a busy time at the air tanker base in Klamath Falls…and Kingsley Field is likely to get even busier next week.

Retardant drops from air tankers can play a key role in suppressing fires.

Manager Don Cavin says the air tanker base at Kingsley Field has made about 20 flights to the Ana fire.

“We’re the closest tanker base to the Ana fire, and we’ve been supporting it.”  Notes Cavin.  “But there’s support from the Medford tanker base, and the Redmond tanker base as well.”

The air tanker base shares space with general aviation, commercial operations, and the 173rd Fighter Wing.

Fire season is happening at the same time as Sentry Eagle this year, where there will be more than the usual number of fighter jets coming in to Klamath Falls.

Parking space for that aircraft is going to be at a premium, and they’re working on the logistics and choreography of the airspace.

“The biggest challenge is probably the air space coordination.”  Says Cavin.  “If we have a fire that’s within areas that they’re having their exercise, we need to make sure that we’re separated.”

Cavin says construction of a new taxiway will help to improve efficiency at Kingsley Field.  “It should help us out, speed things up for us.”

While the Fighter Wing is preparing F-15 pilots for battle, the air tanker base is waging war on wildfires.

The two groups sharing space both at the base, and in the air.

The Sentry Eagle training exercise gets underway next week at Kingsley Field.

The gates will open to the public on Saturday, July 22nd from 9 to 3.

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