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Payson helicopter base expected to be completed by 2022 fire season

Hidden Fire. (InciWeb Photo)

PHOENIX – The U.S. Forest Service recently awarded a Scottsdale-based company a contract to construct a permanent helicopter base on the Payson Ranger District that will be completed by the start of the 2022 fire season.

KOO Design Build will be in charge of constructing a $4.9 million facility that will house the forest’s contract helicopter and firefighters assigned to the base.

With the construction of the base, the facility will be able to support multiple helicopters during fire season, according to a press release.

“This new facility will improve our firefighting capacity in the area, provide additional flexibility during periods of high fire danger and allow us to better respond to fires in the area,” Acting Fire Management Officer Will Balcom said in the release.

For the past 16 years, the helicopter base has been maintained as a temporary facility at the Payson Airport, which required crews to set up and break down the location each year.

The funding for the project came from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which set aside funds for modernizing the Forest Service aviation facilities.

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