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Lake County airport confronts jet fuel shortage during Bootleg Fire efforts

The Lake County Airport reportedly ran out of Jet A fuel on Sunday, leading to a scramble for a steady supply amid a national shortage.

Posted: Jul 15, 2021 10:35 AM
Updated: Jul 15, 2021 5:46 PM

LAKEVIEW, Ore. — A national shortage of jet fuel impacted the Lake County Airport earlier this week as firefighting efforts on the Bootleg Fire ramped up along the county's western reaches.

Airport officials across the U.S. West have sounded the alarm about the jet fuel shortage and the potential that they will have to wave off firefighting aircraft during an already active fire season, the Associated Press reported earlier this week. Some tanker bases have already encountered sporadic shortages, pointing to supply chains that atrophied during the pandemic.

According to the Lake County Sheriff's Office, the airport ran out of Jet A fuel on July 11, the day after the Bootleg Fire's most alarming growth. The airport manager had placed an order for fuel nearly a week prior, but delivery was delayed.

"The Lake County commissioners and emergency manager were made aware of the issue early Monday morning. They immediately took action looking for Jet A fuel in order to prevent an impact to wildfire initial attack and air ambulance operations at the Lake County Airport," the Sheriff's Office said.

Lake County's emergency manager got in contact with Oregon state officials to source fuel from state and federal sources. Meanwhile, the commissioners contacted state Representative E. Werner Reschke and the federal Department of Energy in a parallel search for fuel. The County also declared a state of emergency to speed to the process and open up avenues for firefighting resources.

"The team made countless phone calls and sent emails to regional suppliers, airports and many other sources trying to fill the immediate order," the Sheriff's Office said.

On Wednesday, Ocean Air in Klamath Falls delivered 3,500 gallons of Jet A fuel to Lake County, and officials said that the usual supplier Phillips 66 would bring 8,500 gallons more by Friday.

"Lake County is not anticipating any further supply chain shortages," the Sheriff's Office concluded.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Washington42359405
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Lane30428361
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Linn14859183
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