A Commitment to Aerial Firefighting Services at SBD

A Commitment to Aerial Firefighting Services at SBD

The sights, smells and sounds of summer bring us much needed joy and relaxation. But a new normal for California and other Western states is the ever-present danger of wildfires and the property and personal destruction they cause to residents and business owners.

The San Bernardino Air Tanker Base is strategically located at SBD to support our region. Commercial and military aerial firefighting agencies began training operations at SBD this past spring and have since responded to fire emergencies in our region.   

Learn how aerial firefighters and ground crews train for and respond to wildfires in this recent Fire Aviation article. The story discusses how crews load air tankers with water at SBD and travel to remote-area drop zones for practice drops.

The Airport and our partners proudly support the air tanker base’s timely response to these practice and actual critical missions by providing:

  • A safe and secure airfield operation, including adequate aircraft parking areas.
  • Storage and timely delivery of fuel, so aircraft can return to the air quickly.
  • Facilities to store ample quantities of water and other fire retardant supplies.
  • Maintenance and Repair Operations (MROs) to service firefighting aircraft mechanical and fuselage needs.
  • Pilots with information on preferred flight procedures to encourage Good Neighbor practices and to minimize noise impacts on our community.
  • Historically the air tanker base provides a public viewing area onsite at the USFS tanker base. However, since the global pandemic began, this area has been closed. Airport staff hope to see the public viewing area return when conditions allow, keeping everyone’s good health and best interests in mind.

Scientific data indicates climate change is making summers hotter and increasing the importance of preparing for longer and more challenging wildfire seasons ahead. SBD and partners are prepared to be part of the solution in responding to our regional community’s needs.

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