CENTENNIAL AIRPORT — Colorado is doubling down on its push to rely less on rented aircraft to fight wildfires with the purchase of a second helicopter capable of quickly crisscrossing the state to detect and douse flames.
Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill Friday allocating $26 million to buy another “Firehawk,” a converted version of the military’s ubiquitous Black Hawk helicopter. The Firehawk’s top speed is about 160 mph and it can quickly slurp up and drop 1,000 gallons of water.
When fires aren’t burning, the helicopter can be deployed on search and rescue missions.
Right now, Colorado has no operational, state-owned aircraft that can drop water and retardant on fires. Instead, it relies on contracts with private aerial firefighting companies to…
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