Perimeter Solutions Air Tanker Base Upgrade Completed Just in Time

Montana Based Fire-Retardant Supply Depot Puts New Assets to Test and Sets Records

ST. LOUIS, MO – Perimeter Solutions, the global leader in the production of fire retardants, foams, and water enhancing gels, along with a wide range of services for managing wildland, industrial, municipal, and military fires, today announced the recently completed upgrade to the company’s Helena, Montana fire retardant supply depot were not only just completed, but also put those new assets to test in supporting fire suppression efforts to fight the North Hills Fire.

“Upgrades to the air tanker base in Helena, were just completed July 17,” stated Perimeter Solutions, Business Director – Government Contracts, Shannon Horn.  “The upgrades were made to better response to wildfires in western Montana.  The project which focused on increased storage tank capacity for PHOS-CHEK® fire retardant to support Very Large Air Tankers (VLAT) (DC-10) started back in February at the company’s Post Falls, ID fabrication facility.

Upgraded equipment included the addition of two new 25,000 gallon storage tanks, one 25,000 gallon off-load tank, larger pumps for increased mixing and loading capacity and a change to the manifold system to allow multiple fill lines, thereby providing the ability to load multiple Large Air Tankers (LAT’s) at a single time or in the case of the VLAT the use of up to three fill lines to significantly reduce the load time for fire retardant.”

Helena Aviation Center – New Upgraded Fire-Retardant Storage and Pumping Equipment

The North Hills Fire, which started on Friday – 26 July, was caused by exploding target shooting according to local law enforcement officials.  The fire consumed 5,000+ acres and as of 11 August was 100% contained, according to InciWeb, an interagency all-risk incident information management system.  Since the start of the fire, through Monday 5 August, approximately 242 loads of PHOS-CHEK fire retardant had been dropped to contain the fire and help fire teams on the ground.  Multiple air tankers including two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS), four LATs and one VLAT were used in suppression operations.

Perimeter Solutions operates the air tanker base at the Helena Regional Airport under contract to the United States Forest Service (USFS).  According to the Helena Independent Record, on Saturday – July 27 and Sunday July 28, the air base set new daily records of pumping 181,000 gallons and 231,000 gallons respectively of PHOS-CHEK fire retardant.  Hardware and system upgrades to the air tanker base have significantly shortened load times.

Crew Members look at the underside of a large tanker parked at the Helena Aviation Center
Photo Courtsey of Thom Bridge, Independent Record

The shortened turnaround times are directly attributed to the new air base upgrades.  According to airport officials, the seven tankers have been flying in and out of the Helena airport eight to ten times a day for the past week.

“The Helena Air Base upgrades have proven to save the government significant dollars in the fact planes are not sitting waiting for loads or having to fly farther to other locations,” stated Shannon Horn.  “A true success to the firefighters on the ground providing them the retardant they need when they need it.  A true testament to Perimeter Solution’s mission of providing fire products to save lives and property.”

Work crews install new larger capacity tanks for fire retardant storage


About Perimeter Solutions
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Perimeter Solutions operates as a leading specialty chemicals business, producing high quality lubricant additives and firefighting chemicals with a broad product offering across fire retardant and fire suppressant foam applications.  Perimeter Solutions is the only company with fire retardant products qualified for use by the US Forest Service (USFS). Perimeter Solutions produces major brands known throughout the world like PHOS-CHEK® and FIRE-TROL® retardant, foam and gel products; AUXQUIMIA® and SOLBERG® foam products; and BIOGEMA® extinguishing agents and retardants. More info:

Media Contact:
Dave Pelton
Sr. Director, Marketing
Tel: +1 314 705 1140