Aerial firefighting bill passes Colo. Senate

Politics
Air tanker makes retardent drop at High Park Fire, Larimer County, Colo.

Air tanker makes retardent drop at High Park Fire, Larimer County, Colo.

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DENVER — A bill that would have the state buy or lease up to three firefighting helicopters and four big aircraft to fight wildfires passes the Senate Friday afternoon.

Senators voted 35-0 in favor of the legislation, which now heads to the House.

Sen. Steve King (R-Grand Junction) praised passage of the bill saying in a statement “Coloradans will be safer from the devastating impacts of wildfires because of this bill.”

“Colorado’s brave firefighters deserve to have every tool possible in their battle against wildfires and they are now one step closer to that reality. I’m very proud of the Senate for taking this action today and know it will pay off big time this fire season,” he said.

It’s estimated that the aerial fleet will cost the state between $10 and $20 million.

A state report published in March found that air support has contributed to successful firefighting efforts in many cases, but it’s never been the main factor in containing and controlling wildfires.

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