Forest Service awards new helicopter base construction contract on Payson Ranger District

PHOENIX, Nov. 17, 2020 – The Forest Service recently awarded a contract for the design and construction of a new helicopter base on the Payson Ranger District. The facility is expected to be operational by the beginning of the 2022 fire season.

The $4.9 million dollar facility will be located next to Gila County’s maintenance yard near Star Valley and will house the forest’s contract helicopter and the firefighters assigned to the new base. In addition, the facility will be able to support multiple helicopters during wildfire seasons.

“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,” said Acting Fire Management Officer Will Balcom, of the Payson Ranger District.

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

“I really appreciate the support from the Town of Payson for hosting us at the airport all these years and to Gila County for supporting us to locate the facility next to their maintenance yard,” said Payson District Ranger Matt Paciorek. “Having great partners such as these is essential to successful firefighting operation.”

The funding for this project came from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which includes provisions for modernizing Forest Service aviation facilities. KOO Design Build, Inc., of Scottsdale, Arizona, was awarded the contract. For more information contact the Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900.