SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Erickson Aero Tanker wins $70.5 million federal firefighting contract

Photo courtesy Medford Air Tanker Base / Facebook.

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced on Tuesday that the Oregon-based company earned a major federal contract.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 4:16 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 4:34 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon-based air tanker company Erickson Aero Tanker has won a major federal firefighting contract, the two U.S. Senators from Oregon announced on Tuesday.

The $70.5 million contract is for next-generation large air tanker services, supporting wildland firefighting both within Oregon and throughout the nation, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said in a joint statement.

“The blazes that devastated so much of Oregon this year unfortunately provide the latest example of the urgent need to build a comprehensive arsenal of tools to fight wildfires in our state and the entire country,” Sen. Wyden said. “Air tankers are an essential piece of that arsenal and I’m glad Erickson Aero Tanker has earned this contract that will help keep Oregon communities safe while also generating good jobs in Washington County.”

Erickson Aero Tanker is headquartered in Hillsboro — a cousin of sorts to the Central Point-based Erickson Air Crane, thanks to founder Jack Erickson, but a separate company — and owned by aviation firm Aero Air LLC.

“I drove hundreds of miles across Oregon as this year’s unprecedented wildfires raged, and I saw unfathomable destruction and hazardous smoke at every turn,” said Sen. Merkley. “This year was a devastating reminder of just how important it is that we have every possible tool — including airtankers — at the ready to keep our communities safe from future blazes. I’m pleased that this funding is headed to our state, and I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make sure we’re not only prepared, but taking urgently needed steps to reduce the risk of more catastrophic wildfires.”

Merkley sits as the top Democrat on the the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal agency that includes the U.S. Forest Service. USDA plans to use the air tankers to provide "modern aerial firefighting support," delivering retardant to fires for the Forest Service.

“We are very pleased that the USFS has selected two of our MD-87 fire bombers under the NextGen 3.0 contract for large airtankers,” said Erickson Aero Tanker general manager Matt Isley. “With this contract, Erickson Aero Tanker will have four MD-87s under exclusive use contracts with two more available for call-when-needed emergency use. This fire season, our tankers — including our DC-7 tanker in Oregon — have dropped over 6.5 million gallons of water or retardant on fires in 13 states."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 38°
Stagnant and dry weather continue all week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events