Hickenlooper: Firefighting air corps too costly

12:42 PM, Dec 20, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER (AP) - Gov. John Hickenlooper says he isn't convinced Colorado should buy its own firefighting air fleet, but he says Western governors are interested in cooperating to pay for regional wildfire resources.

The governor said Thursday he is also interested in training ranchers and farmers to be first responders in remote areas to fight fires on federal land before government firefighters can arrive.

According to the Durango Herald (http://tinyurl.com/ptzfr8q ), the governor believes the first hour is critical after a fire is reported.

The air tanker issue came up during the Western Governors' Association meeting. Colorado lawmakers this year passed a bill for a state firefighting fleet, but didn't budget funds for it.

The governor said previously a standing fleet could be shared by Western states during the summer where they're needed most.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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