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News

Ready to respond: Aerial firefighting support secured for your safety in 2024

Douglas County Commissioners invest in wildfire readiness with 2024 contracts

Posted on March 26, 2024 2024News and EventsPublic Safety

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Your home is likely one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make. That’s why each year Douglas County invests significant resources in the firefighting tools needed to protect your life, home and property from our County’s No. 1 natural hazard – wildfires.

At the March 26 Business Meeting, The Board of Douglas County Commissioners allocated more than $1.8 million to the County’s 2024 wildland fire aerial firefighting contracts, ensuring air support in Douglas County is available at a moment’s notice in the event of a wildfire.

A contract with Trans Aero LTD, for $1,505,000 will provide 183 days of exclusive use of a Type 2 helicopter to Douglas County – 30 days of additional coverage compared to 2023. A Type 2 helicopter capable of delivering 300 gallons of water to the front lines of a wildfire will be standing ready to respond from June 1 through Nov. 30, 2024.

Additionally, from March 27 through Dec. 31, 2024, three call-when-needed air support contracts were approved for use, each for up to $100,000. Three aerial wildland firefighting vendors are capable of providing Boeing DC-10 Air Tankers and numerous helicopters capable of delivering thousands of gallons of water to the front lines of a fire, which may assist as needed with wildfire suppression.

Wildfires can strike in any season, in any neighborhood, and move extremely fast. Aerial support is an essential tool in suppressing a fire’s growth and assisting firefighters on the ground as they work to save lives and property. Douglas County is the only local government in Colorado with an aerial support plan for wildfire.

“The Douglas County Wildfire Action Collaborative, representing more than a dozen agencies, has come together proactively to address the No. 1 natural threat to Douglas County – wildfires,” said Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon, chair of the Wildfire Action Collaborative. “We’ve leaned on the expertise of our cities, towns, fire districts, the US Forest Service, and our various County departments to make recommendations for combating wildfire, and this expansion of aerial support is one of them. I am so grateful for this team’s work, so we can always be ready to strike wildfire hard, heavy and fast.”

The Douglas County Wildfire Action Collaborative exists to facilitate innovative approaches for bolstering community wildfire resilience. Their programs include the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Wildfire Evaluation Risk Map and Wildfire Mitigation Defensible Space Program.

You can also do your part, as a family, to prepare for wildfires by doing mitigation work around your property and creating a defensible space between vegetation and your home. Resources available in Douglas County to help families save money and prepare include a Wildfire Mitigation Cost-Share program and a free-use slash-mulch site.

Please also sign up every phone line in your household for CodeRED notifications, ensuring you receive emergency notifications. If you, or someone in your household, is an older adult or person with a disability and may need extra assistance in the event of an evacuation, please sign up for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Access and Functional Needs Registry.

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