BLM proposes firefighting base improvements
The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to expand its aerial firefighting base at Roswell Air Center Airport, New Mexico
The agency’s Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) base would undergo expansions worth US$650,000 –delivered in two phases.
The first project, worth $350,000, involves the construction of a new building for fire retardant storage – with dimensions of roughly 12x15x4 meters – as well as a new 2,000 sq. ft. (186m2) workshop.
The second project, using the remaining $300,000, covers the expansion of the base’s ramp area, and the construction of both a trench drain and loading pit for fire retardant loading and washdown.
The modifications would allow the base to house and serve both Large Air Tankers (LAT) and Very Large Air Tankers (VLAT), in addition to SEAT aircraft.
As part of the expansion, BLM has requested a new ground lease from the city of Roswell, commencing from October and running for 25 years. BLM has held its current lease contract since October 2008, when it began construction of the base.
The base typically serves firefighting operations between May and September. BLM is responsible for the fire management and mitigation of around 13.5 acres of federal public land in New Mexico. Its Roswell base has also responded to callouts in neighboring states such as Arizona and Texas in the past.