Despite late-spring snow and rain, fire danger can increase rapidly, and it is imperative that everyone in Douglas County – emergency response agencies and residents – be prepared for the possibility of a wildland fire.
Aerial support is a critical component of Douglas County’s wildfire preparedness toolbox directed by the Douglas County Office of Emergency Management in close partnership with local fire departments and other agencies. With a goal to save lives and protect property, Trans Aero Helicopter was recently contracted to provide 153 days of exclusive use, representing the most significant aerial firefighting investment by any local government in Colorado.
Having an exclusive use helicopter on contract ensures this tool is available to be deployed when Douglas County needs it the most. The helicopter arrived in Douglas County on Wednesday, June 1, and will be stationed in the northwest part of the county through Oct. 31, 2022.
Office of Emergency Management (OEM) staff received training in general helicopter safety and aircraft orientation, loading and unloading of passengers and gear, aviation communications, operational deployment of firefighters and even practiced water drops, to ensure they are also prepared.
The County also has contracts with three additional companies that will assist Douglas County on an as-needed basis in the event of a major wildland fire.
Redundancy in aerial support for wildfires allows the County to execute a ‘hard, heavy, fast’ response to wildfires and protect residents and their property.
Wildfire mitigation and risk reduction require everyone in our community to participate. You can take steps right now to reduce your risk by signing up for CodeRED emergency alerts and learning best practices for property mitigation and wildfire prevention.