A mobile control tower, from Tower Tech, Inc., arrived at the Ganser Airport in Quincy last week to direct landing and departing firefighting equipment for the Dixie Fire. Photo by Mike Taborski

Heavy smoke, poor visibility grounds air attack operations for now

The lack of visibility from the heavy blanket of smoke that is now covering most of the region has grounded air attack operations at Quincy’s Gansner Airport as of this morning, July 26. The helicopters and related support crews and resources remain on standby at the airport-turned helibase and will resume their mission as soon as the visibility improves.

Last Friday, a mobile control tower arrived in Quincy to direct landing and departing firefighting equipment. Tower Tech, Inc. has been providing the Forest Service and Cal Fire with mobile air traffic control services through the western United States for the past 12 years. They are based in Meadow Vista, CA with 32 years of experience in air traffic control operations for fires and airshows.

Additionally, to provide a safer environment for fire fighting equipment, temporarily flight restrictions have been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for the Quincy airport and the surrounding area, closing the airspace from the surface up to 13,000 feet to general aviation. The airspace closure, which is not  uncommon in these situations, is scheduled to remain in effect until Aug. 26.