LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado is getting a new weapon in the fight against wildfires.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control has signed a contract with United Rotorcraft, an aircraft product manufacturing company, to bring a Sikorsky S70i FIREHAWK® helicopter to Colorado.
The FIREHAWK® has a 1,000 gallon water capacity inside its tank. A retractable snorkel is able to refill the tank with water in less than a minute. The FIREHAWK® has a rescue hoist, and is able to transport 12 ground firefighters, and rescue civilians when needed.
The FIREHAWK® isn’t just for fires as it turns out. The helicopter can also be used for avalanche and rockslide prevention, in addition to livestock protection and wildlife counts.
The helicopter’s purchase comes after Governor Polis signed a senate bill in March of this year to authorize the new FIREHAWK®.
“Following one of the worst fire seasons our state has seen, coupled with the trend of increasing wildfire occurrence and impacts, it is critical to increase the state’s capacity to respond to these incidents,” said DFPC Director Mike Morgan.
The FIREHAWK® is expected to be delivered to Centennial in the later part of 2022.