Lawmakers on Colorado’s powerful joint budget committee are skeptical about finding money for an aerial firefighting fleet for the upcoming wildfire season. A report from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control recommends spending $33 million on spotter planes, small air tankers, helicopters, and leasing large air tankers for wildfire season.
Despite Colorado’s higher than average snowpack, there’s no guarantee it will reduce the risk of wildfires in 2014. That’s why state, federal and military personal are taking the lessons learned during the severe 2012 and 2013 fire seasons to be better prepared.
Flexing its firefighting air power, the Colorado National Guard and wildland firefighters are conducting aerial fire suppression training exercises at reservoirs across the Front Range. When preparing for the upcoming wildfire season nothing is being left to chance.
They’ll be more air power available to fight wildfires in 2014 than in recent years. The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho says up to 17 “exclusive use” air tankers will be placed strategically across the country, ready to deploy when fires erupt.