Years of discussion about a dream to locate a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) base in Rock Springs has finally become a reality.
The Rock Springs Bureau of Land Management (BLM) SEAT Base, located at the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport, opened toward the end of June and they have already responded to wildland fires throughout its coverage area.
The facility is located on the northwest side of the airport and is right in the middle of the general aviation facilities for the airport, Airport Director Devon Brubaker said.
“The BLM has been developing this project for about two years with the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport,” Mark Randall, BLM Wyoming High Desert District Unit Aviation Manager, said.
Even though the BLM was working for two years developing the project, it was something BLM Fire Management Officer Frank Keeler had as a goal for a long time.
“It’s been on my mind for the last eights years, but I wanted to do it right,” Keeler said.
The BLM had a temporary SEAT site in Rawlins, but Keeler always wanted to put a permanent facility in Rock Springs. One thing standing in the BLM’s way was lack of water to the airport. Even though there is still not a water line going out to the airport, upgraded water systems have allowed this project to take place. Keeler said Airport Director Devon Brubaker made sure upgrades were completed to allow for the base.
Keeler said another obstacle was finding a facility at the airport to put the base in. Keeler said he knew there was one already at the airport. It was rundown and not in the best of shape, but he couldn’t help but think it could work if renovated.
“A couple of years ago, I just threw some seed money at the project,” Keeler said.
The timing couldn’t have been better. It was around this time the national BLM office had decided they wanted to move from mobile SEAT bases to permanent bases. The national office found out about the Rock Springs project and it continued to move forward.
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