COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — The City of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service are set to unveil a brand new airtanker base Wednesday, one they hope will help fight wildfires statewide.
The Colorado Springs Airtanker Base will be the fourth of its kind in the state, according to the USFS, joining bases in Jefferson County, Durango and Grand Junction.
“When it comes to fighting fire, the more resources we have the better off our guys on the ground are going to be,” airtanker specialist Robby Cline said.
Cline said the base will allow firefighting aircraft to reach anywhere within a 300-mile radius in one hour. That includes the entire state of Colorado, as well as neighboring states, should help be needed.
“If there’s a fire and we’re requested, we’re going to be there,” he said.
Cline said the Colorado Springs airport has minimal commercial activity compared to some other larger airports in the region, which should benefit wildfire efforts.
“If they’re fighting a fire in Boulder and they can’t handle as many planes or get the loads out faster, we may see some diverts coming down here, where we can help them keep that sequence going and really help people up there,” Cline said.
The base officially opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. Cline said they’ve already used the base to fight multiple early-season fires in Colorado, including the recent High Park Fire.