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Colorado readies for wildfire season

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 07 2013 10:31:42 PM CDT
Colorado wildfire

CNN

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Lessons from last year's deadly and devastating wildfire season could prompt lawmakers to enact a new firefighting tool for the entire state.

A bill being considered would create a new division that would have the power to buy or lease firefighting aircraft. The bill will face it's first test in a Senate committee this Thursday.

There's already a single-engine air tanker in place should a large wildfire start.

The Air Tractor 802 is considered an effective tool on large fires. Some pilots said they like the 802 because it is easier to land and take off from small, remote airports.

The 802 can also carry 800 gallons of retardant.

The plane is expected to be based at the Fort Collins-Loveland airport.

Last year, Colorado suffered it's worst wildfire year ever. The Waldo Canyon fire burned 18,247 acres, close to 350 homes and killed two people. The High Park fire, near Fort Collins, was even bigger. It burned 87,284 acres and more than 250 homes.

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