Colorado anticipates normal wildfire season, state shows off controversial $24 million helicopter

By Alex Edwards
Denver Gazette
April 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Colorado can expect a normal wildfire season this year, very similar to last, as the state flexes enhanced firefighting practices in the wake of devastating fires. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) outlined the state wildfire preparedness plan to Gov. Jared Polis during a press conference on Wednesday. …Behind the speakers stood the newest addition to Colorado’s air tanker fleet, a brand-new S-70 Firehawk. Based on the military Blackhawk helicopter, the Firehawk is classified as a type I helicopter air tanker, meaning it is the largest and fastest type of firefighting helicopter. The Firehawk can carry 1,000 gallons of water or fire retardant. …The state of Colorado paid $2.3 million last year for pilots and mechanics for the helicopter, even as it sat in a hanger unused. After purchasing the $24 million whirlybird in 2021, it generated so much excitement in the legislature, they earmarked an additional $26 million for a second

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