Chadron airport prepares for aerial firefighting plane - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Chadron airport prepares for aerial firefighting plane

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Construction is almost complete on an addition to the Chadron Municipal Airport that will improve reaction time for the area's ‘aerial fire fighters'.

A permanent loading station is in the works to accommodate the state's new ‘single engine air tanker' (SEAT) that will be used to fight wildfires throughout the state.

Last summer's wild fire damage across Nebraska prompted Governor Dave Heineman to sign the Wildfire Control Act of 2013 which contracts the use of a SEAT plane for early response and to combat wildfires.

The new loading station will provide Chadron with the necessary materials and equipment to maintain and support the aircraft on a permanent basis.

"This is just one more tool in the fire fighter's handbag to try and get early response so that we can keep the fires at a manageable level," says the Nebraska State forest Service's Fred McCartney. 

The airports in both Alliance and Valentine are also equipped with permanent handling facilities.  The state's SEAT plane will be stationed where the fire danger is deemed highest.

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