Medford Airtanker Base gears up for summer fires

MEDFORD, Ore.– The federal airtanker base in Medford is gearing up for any calls that may come their way.

According to officials at the base, this year will be the first time in years that the base will be fully staffed providing faster and more efficient responses.

The U.S. Forest Service runs the base, which services not just our region but much of the West Coast as well. Support from airtankers can be vital for firefighters.

“If we need to come in earlier or later we’ll do that and we can go at any moment,” said Justin Bohannan, manager for the base. “As soon as the airplane shows up, we can start reloading it and get it back out to the fire.”

The airtanker base in Medford is the only “very large air tanker” base or VLAT in southern Oregon that can host planes needed to combat wildfires.

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