Colorado competes with other states for wildfire-fighting aircraft, climate change makes that a big problem | VailDaily.com
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Colorado competes with other states for wildfire-fighting aircraft, climate change makes that a big problem

Lawmakers have signed off on spending tens of millions of dollars to bolster Colorado’s access to fire-dousing planes and helicopters — that’s crucial as blazes grow bigger and more plentiful — and erupt beyond summer.

Jesse Paul
The Colorado Sun

When wildfires swept across Colorado and the western U.S. last summer and fall, water- and retardant-dropping airplanes and helicopters that can make the difference between a small blaze and a deadly megafire were difficult to come by.

States were suddenly pitted against each other as federal emergency managers worked to determine who needed the most help from the skies. And that resource choke-point is only expected to get worse as climate change stokes a longer fire season filled with more and larger blazes.

That’s why Colorado lawmakers have signed off on spending tens of millions of dollars this year to improve the state’s access to wildfire-fighting planes and helicopters by extending lease agreements. They also have agreed to purchase a state-of-the-art firefighting helicopter.



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