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JeffCo Airtanker Base in Broomfield gearing up for wildfire season in Colorado

Tanker 10 at Jeffco Airtanker Base 1
Posted at 6:38 PM, May 17, 2023

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Fire officials in Colorado would agree that the state's wildfire season is no longer a specified stretch of a few months, but instead a year-round phenomena.

That's one reason why the U.S. Forest Service's JeffCo Airtanker Base in Broomfield, one of four bases of its kind in the state, is always prepared to respond to a wildfire.

In the event of a wildfire, their primary purpose is to prepare fire retardant and load it on airtankers to battle wildfires.

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"We're ready to go at a moment's notice," U.S. Forest Service Forest Aviation Officer Scott Headrick told Denver7 Wednesday. "We put the retardant out in front of the fire to slow the rate of spread to give the boots on the ground that fighting chance."

The base, which opened in the 1960s, has three 12,000-gallon tanks of retardant concentrate on hand, which is mixed with water to use on wildfires.

The base has pumped about 8,000 gallons of retardant this year. For perspective, they produce about 350,000 gallons yearly.

Colorado fire officials implementing air tankers in year-round wildfire mitigation plan

Three years ago, the base set a personal record.

"In 2020, we did 1.7 million gallons of retardant at this base, and that roughly equated to about 730 air tanker missions," Headrick said.

This year, the Forest Service expects the state to experience about 5,500 wildfires, which is the yearly average.


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