SCU Complex

Reid-Hillview Airport Plays Key Role in Battling SCU Complex Fire

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The SCU Lightning Complex Fire burning east of San Jose has swallowed more than 370,000 acres and destroyed 28 structures.

But some are asking if it may have saved the future of Reid-Hillview Airport?

Activists have wanted the airport closed for decades because it is surrounded by homes, but it may have helped save homes during the wildfires.

On Friday, two huge helicopters made dozens of rounds in and out of Reid-Hillview to load up on flame retardant and fight flames from the SCU Complex Fire.

The airport is also where Squadron 80 of the Civil Air Patrol is based.

The crew's current mission is to take high-resolution pictures of the areas affected by the wildfires so FEMA can create a damage assessment.

The Civil Air Patrol said Reid-Hillview has been critical in the fire fights.

"The smaller, feeder airports do play a critical role in disasters and at times they can turn into mini helicopter bases for fire," said Gerald Camp, California Civil Air Patrol.

Director of County Airports Harry Freitas was asked to look into the future use of Reid-Hillview.

"The use of the airport as an emergency services right now is obviously a big factor," Freitas said.

Many have long said the airport should be closed and transformed into a mix of housing and retail. Now it seems the recent wildfires may play a role in making that assessment.

If Reid-Hillview closes, it will not be until after the year 2031.

The county is still gathering community input before it makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the future of the airport.

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