Douglas County Emergency Management ready if fire comes

Commissioners approve contracts for aerial support

Douglas County aerial support was used to fight the recent Chatridge Fire in Highlands Ranch.
Douglas County aerial support was used to fight the recent Chatridge Fire in Highlands Ranch.

“Given the number of fires we have seen in recent years throughout Colorado, we understand the importance of having every precaution in place to protect our communities,” said County Commissioner David Weaver. “That includes having as much wildland fire air support as possible, allowing us to immediately react to any wildland fire in the County.”

The Board of Douglas County Commissioners renewed contracts with four companies this week that will provide aerial support on wildland fire, including its primary go-to, Castle Rock-based Rampart Helicopter Services, which has helped fight numerous wildland fires in Douglas County since 2010. The Board also adopted its Annual Operating Plan — which sets forth roles and responsibilities for the County, the State, and the U.S. Forest Service during a wildfire response in Douglas County.

The County’s contract renewal with Rampart is good for a period of 12 months and an amount not to exceed $404,000. The actual amount will depend on how often the County uses Rampart’s services and chooses to place the company on exclusive use. The County is able to secure Rampart’s services in an exclusive manner as needed over the course of the next 12 months.

In addition to its contract with Rampart, the Board also renewed contracts with Heliqwest International, Inc. (up to $50,000 in helicopter services), Trans Aero, Ltd. (up to $50,000 in helicopter services), and 10 Tanker Air Carrier, LLC. (up to $100,000 in fixed-wing apparatus services). Each of those companies would assist Douglas County on an as-needed basis only, in the event of a major wildland fire.

“Due to the strong possibility of continued dry conditions in and around Douglas County, coupled with the limited air resource availability in the region for the purpose of fighting wildland fire, it is imperative that we have every resource possible available to us,” said the County’s Director of Emergency Management Tim Johnson.

To view the contracts in their entirety click here to access the March 14 business meeting agenda.

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