As wildfires continue to burn and smolder communities all throughout Marion, Clackamas and Linn Counties, the Aurora State Airport is lending a much-needed hand in the battle now raging on many fronts across the Willamette Valley.
Leading the statewide effort to contain wildland fires is the Oregon Department of Forestry, which is using the Aurora airport to deploy resources to the blazing infernos in the Haag Lake, Colton and Detroit Lake areas.
The Aurora Water Resource District, based at the airport, is also allowing ODF access to its water through fire hydrants to help fill fire suppression tanks for quick use, according to Friends of the Aurora State Airport spokesman Dylan Frederick.
“All of us at the Aurora Airport are just trying to do our part to help our families and communities who are being impacted,” Frederick said. “Our firefighters, police and other first responders are the ones putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. This is the least we can do.”
The small but busy airport — actually the state’s fourth-busiest behind PDX, Hillsboro and Bend — is a key cog in many of the emergency management scenarios for large disaster situations, such as a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake event.
The airport is one of only 84 general aviation airports in the nation with a national significance designation from the FAA, given to airports that play a critical role in national transportation needs and emergency preparedness.
Frederick says the airport will continue to work to support ODF in its efforts to contain and suppress the still-raging fires and — ultimately — help protect local communities and those who call them home.