BLM Expected to Expand Operations in New Mexico

The Roswell Air Center Airport, located in New Mexico, also houses a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) aerial firefighting base on the east side of its apron, one of 30 emergency fire bases operated by the BLM in 13 Western states.

The BLM currently operates a Single-Engine Airtanker (SEAT) base on the site for firefighting operations. The agency has recently proposed a $650,000 expansion of the base, which includes the design and construction of two projects. The first project, estimated at $350,000, involves the construction of a new 40-foot by 50-foot by 16-foot building for fire retardant storage and a 2,000-square-foot workshop.

The second project, estimated at $300,000, involves the expansion of the operation’s ramp area and the construction of a trench drain and a loading pit for fire retardant loading and washdown, which will elevate the capability of the base from SEAT capable, to also be able to house and fill LAT and VLAT tankers at the site.

The BLM has requested a new ground lease from the city of Roswell as part of the expansion, holding a previous lease for approximately 117,667 square feet since October 2008, when it began construction on the airtanker base. The new lease would cover the same location, commencing in October, and run for 25 years.

The BLM has indicated that getting the new lease in place is the first step in firming up its expansion plans.

Firefighting operations at the base typically run from May to September. The BLM is responsible for fire management and mitigation efforts on 13.5 acres of federal public land in four districts in the state of New Mexico. In 2020, Roswell-based aircraft responded to 12 wildfires in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.

AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Magazine strives to provide you with breaking aerial firefighting industry news and information.

Latest Print Edition

Latest Articles

Related articles