Improvements scheduled for Prescott air tanker base

(Last Updated On: October 15, 2014)
 Prescott Airport.
A ramp at the Prescott Airport. The red stains on the tarmac are typical of ramps at air tanker bases. Google Earth. (click to enlarge)

The City of Prescott, Arizona has agreed to accept a $1.44 million grant from the  Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) which will go along with $1 million from the U.S. Forest Service for improvements at the air tanker base at the Prescott Airport.

The ADOT funds will be used to upgrade the apron used by air tankers, while the USFS funds will add new plumbing infrastructure and a taxiway. The changes will increase the number of loading pits from two to three. The ADOT grant will cover 90 percent of the cost of the apron project, and the City of Prescott will supply the additional 10 percent.

In spite of the new construction which is scheduled to begin June 2015, the runway will still not be able to support Very Large Air Tankers such as the DC-10, according to City Manager Craig McConnell. During the Yarnell Hill Fire last year, two DC-10s reloaded at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, 90 air miles southeast of the fire.