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Role of West Yellowstone’s tanker highlighted in recent Bridger fire

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 10/22/20

In 1988, the West Yellowstone airtanker base was integral in extinguishing the fire that devastated the Yellowstone area. Just last year, the Forest Service decided to stop stationing airtankers at the base, noting that the landing strip was too short and the high elevation too constricting to accommodate larger airtankers. Since then, advocates for it reopening have been vocal, now using the Bridger Foothills Fire as an example of what would have gone better had the base been in use.

The loss of the West Yellowstone base means multi-million dollar homes built in places like Big Sky Resort, the Madison Valley and Jackson, Wyoming—as well as historic structures inside Yellowstone National Park—are not as well protected if a wildland fire ignites, retired wildland firefighter Tommy Roche told the Billings Gazette.

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