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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: September 4, 2019

Airport to Host Aircraft Fire Exercise for Airport and Area Firefighters

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Area firefighters will join the team of specially-trained, FAA certified Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Specialists at aircraft fire drills at the Airport Operations Center September 17th - 21st. The drills are staged annually to test the skills of firefighters, practice firefighting skills unique to aircraft, and develop relationships between local fire departments and the airport operations crew. 

“We host this event to keep our firefighters’ skills sharp, build relationships and to learn where our strengths and weaknesses are,” said Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Director, John Kinney.

For the first time, one of the drills will be open to the public to observe firefighters extinguish a simulated aircraft fire. The public viewing event is set for Wednesday, September 18th at 3:00 p.m. at the Airport Operations Center at 1001 Owl Creek Road. 

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Aircraft fire simulation at previous burn drill.

DSC_0855 (1) Airport Operations Firefighter Specialists enter simulator during previous burn drill. 

A mobile aircraft fire training unit will be used that has the look and feel of an aircraft fuselage. It’s the same unit that is brought in for the FAA-required Triennial Drills that test firefighters and overall mass-casualty emergency response. The last Triennial Drill was held in 2018. 

“The simulated aircraft training unit has seats and aisles on the interior and has the ability to create an aircraft fuel fire which offers a different challenge from the typical building or wildland fire. The Airport Operations team has specialized training to deal with aircraft fires and it's important that we share our expertise with area departments in the event we find ourselves responding to an event collectively,” Kinney said. 

The Aspen Fire Protection District Fire Department, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority, and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District have been invited to participate. 

The public is reminded that these drills will be held day and night and flames could be visible from areas surrounding the airport. The burns will be staged on a gravel surface on airport property away from trees and shrubbery and will be completely controlled burns. Pitkin Alert and Social Media will be used to remind the public about the burns to alleviate unnecessary calls to 911. 


MEDIA CONTACT: Airport Director, John Kinney - 970-429-2851


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