A new airtanker base, designed to support aerial firefighting, is currently in the planning stage at the Colorado Springs Airport.
The project, a joint effort between the City of Colorado Springs and the US Forest Service, as well as the airport itself, will be capable upon completion of supporting active firefighting in a 600-mile radius, taking in nearly all of the states of the West, including Arizona and New Mexico.
Work is expected to begin on the $20 million facility later this spring, with a rough completion date of sometime next year.
In a statement, Representative Doug Lamborn, one of the promoters of the project who helped secure federal funding for it, said the new facility would serve as the home for “one of the nation’s largest, most state-of-the-art Airtanker Base units.”
Some of that funding is coming through a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in the spring of 2018.
As part of the preliminary process to construct the base, the Forest Service has signed a lease with the Colorado Springs Airport.
As planned, the 1.5-acre base, which will be built near the airport’s main 13,500-foot runway, will include six fire retardant reload pits for airtankers.
The project will also see the construction of offices, seven stations for loading the retardant onto aircraft, and a storage building for the retardant.
By Garry Boulard
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