Rapid City Airtanker Base media day

Air tanker base
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 8:10 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Every summer the Rapid City Airtanker Base helps combat wildfires across five different states. The base operates out of a small corner of Rapid City Airport and supports the Rocky Mountain region which includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

Friday, crews offered an inside look at their vital operations and the equipment that helps them get the job done.

“It was good a lot of people turned out. We get forest service, militia firefighters that come to help us out when we’re loading air tankers during the fire season, so it gives them the chance to come to check out the base early season and get some exposure to the operations that we do here.” Jarrod Hattervig the Rapid City Airtanker base manager stated adding “We’re kina back here on the airport doing our job away from, you know where people are seeing the fires or the other forest service offices, and so just it gives some good exposure for people to know that we’re here.”

The Region hosts 599 firefighters, 56 engines, and five interagency hotshot crews, and is a part of the robust Forest Service fire organization. The base on average has 150 thousand gallons of fire retardant available and can send over 10 thousand gallons of retardant an hour. “The aircraft come in so that we can help the people on the ground... that’s what we are here for.”