The Chico Air Attack Base was established in 1969 and is located on the grounds of the Chico Municipal Airport in the CDF Butte Unit.
Chico launches an average of 525 flights per year. Staff at Chico consists of one air attack officer, two fire captains, one fire apparatus engineer, one clerk, and four firefighters. The complement of aircraft includes one OV-10 Bronco as air attack and one S-2T airtanker.
The base mixes its retardant with a batch mixer, similar to a cement mixer, which yields 1,298 gallons of finished product from a one-ton bag of dry retardant. After mixing, the retardant is transferred by pump into one of three 25,000 gallon wet storage tanks. The base has three airtanker loading pits and can supply retardant to all three at the same time.
Chico pumps an average of 300,000 gallons of retardant a year. In 1999, the air attack base pumped a record 1,346,384 gallons of retardant. The base has a possible peak output of 170,000 gallons a day.
The base’s immediate response area covers the CDF Butte and Tehama-Glenn Units as well as the Mendocino, Lassen, and Plumas National Forests and takes in 1.3 million acres.