The Medford Air Tanker Base is getting new resources to help during fire season. Construction began on Monday for a new water line.
This will make it easier for retardant fill ups. Since 2014 the base has been using hose lays from a hydrant on the other side of the airport... Making the transfer of water for retardant more time consuming.
The Oregon Department of Forestry and the Medford Water Commission are teaming up to help get construction going.
Justin Bohannan is the Air Tanker Base Manager for the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest. He says, "Now it'll be there and available any time we need it. It's close, there's plenty of water pressure, and we'll be able to keep up with mixing all of the retardant. It will keep the planes coming in and out faster.
Thousands of gallons of retardant have been dropped this fire season alone. They estimate the new system will be finished within the next week or two and can be used immediately after that.
Bohannan says they are excited to break in the new hydrant and to put away the old system they have been using the past 4 years.