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Colorado’s Aerial Firefighting Fleet Improves Response Times

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Updated: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:37:55 MST

MONTROSE, Colo. - The approval of the Aerial Firefighting Fleet from the State of Colorado is providing quicker response times to keep fires from becoming more dangerous. The Bell Long Ranger IV chopper is one three helicopters positioned throughout the state.

Firefighters from the Colorado State Fire Prevention and Control train every day and are on standby if a wildfire occurs. Officials say Montrose is seen as a central location on the Western Slope.

“They went to a fire a couple of weeks ago and helped out the Telluride Fire Department. We were on scene with in 18 minutes. Just a couple of days ago went to Hotchkiss Fire Department helping with a little fire and it took us 13 minutes to fly up there,” said Colorado Fire and Prevention and Control fire manager Steve Ellis.

“We did an I-A [Initial Attack] up near there, and access was only by four-wheeler and we're able to come in put a few hundred gallons of water on the fire before the hand crews can get in there an work the fire itself,” said helicopter manager Kirk Johnson.

Fire crews also assist firefighters on the ground locating routes to reach the fire safely.

The helicopter will be stationed in Montrose until the end of September.

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