State plane normally used for wildfires assisting with flood control

LAKE COUNTY -- A state plane normally used for tracking wildfires is serving a very different purpose this spring.

Colorado's Multi-Mission Aircraft has been sent to the western slope on at least 4 occasions to assist with flood control.

Officials are concerned avalanche debris could clog up waterways, leading to flooding in towns like Lake City.

"The goal has been to take images of the debris the avalanches deposited," says Peter Vidmar.

Vidmar is the manager of the Multi Mission Aircraft program, which is normally used to track wildfires from the air.

"We haven't done a lot of this work before, but it's certainly in our wheelhouse," he says.

The plane is equipped with specialized cameras, allowing crews to follow entire avalanche paths.

"It's equipped with a combination color, and infrared sensor, that can get very good detail levels from high altitude," says Vidmar.

So far, the plane has been used in Lake, Chaffee, San Juan, and San Miguel counties.

It can be requested by any state agency across Colorado.

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