Epic Aviation has dispatched more than two-million gallons of aviation fuels since the beginning of July to FBOs and fire bases supporting aerial firefighting operations in western USA.
Aviation fuel and ground-support resources used in aerial firefighting operations have been in very high demand with multiple wildfires burning at the same time in California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington. Epic Aviation has shipped enough aviation fuel to the region to fill more than 44 Boeing 777 jumbo jets. The fuel is being used to power DC-10 air tankers and UH-1H Super Huey helicopters used by local, state and federal agencies.
Epic is working closely with its partner FBOs in the region to assist their efforts in supporting firefighting operations in the Pacific Northwest. The company has significantly ramped-up its operations to meet the demand for aviation fuel by FBOs in the regions serving as firebases. Locations such as Redding Jet Center at Redding Airport and Gemini Flight Support at Castle Airport in Atwater, California, and Glacier Jet Center at Glacier Park International in Kalispell, Montana, have all seen significant action since the 2015 fire season began.
Mike Talbot, general manager at Glacier Jet Center, commented, “We’re working 24/7 to meet the demands of the brave firefighting crews and Epic, our fuel supplier, has carefully balanced supply and demand despite the significant challenges at hand.”
This year’s fire-season has been extremely challenging, requiring Epic to develop creative solutions and alternatives for fuel supply and delivery.
“We’ve used multiple modes of delivery, from refineries, to terminals, to railcars to trucks over long distances to form a virtual ‘bucket brigade’ of aviation fuel to safely supply the aerial firefighting operations run out of our FBO’s facilities. At times the demand overwhelmed the normal supply and logistics infrastructure in the region, so we pulled in fuel from outside the region, including Canada,” said Lee Jones, vice president of supply for Epic.
Based on the current weather conditions and progress combatting the existing fires, the expectations are that the increased demand for aviation fuel will continue for several more weeks.
“We stand committed and ready to support our FBO customers who are doing everything within their power to aid in the massive effort to contain and extinguish the multiple blazes,” said Jones.