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Hickenlooper To Propose Regional Firefighting System At WGA Meeting

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A C-130 tanker (credit: CBS)

A C-130 tanker (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

DENVER (CBS4) – There’s now a proposal to get Colorado more wildfire fighting resources.

This Friday Gov. John Hickenlooper will meet with 18 governors who belong to the Western Governors’ Association in Utah.

Hickenlooper says he plans to talk about a regional fire resource system to help Western states manage wildfires better with access to equipment.

From the air and with boots on the ground firefighters have fought the West Fork Complex Fire from every angle. They want homes standing in the wake of the angry flames. The fire is unique as it’s three blazes in one feeding off beetle killed trees.

Colorado is the top priority for the U.S. Forest Service with many fires burning across the state at once, which means it’s easier to get resources. But Hickenlooper is now looking for a long-term plan. He’s been talking about creating a regional fire fleet of planes and equipment so wildfires can be fought faster across the Western states.

“We’d fund it on a regional basis and all the states would chip in. We all have the problems, but we don’t all always have the problems at the same time,” Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper will work to drum up the support at the Western Governors’ Association meeting this week. He says a regional fleet can also help to save money, possible a fifth of the cost to fighting fires. The Black Forest Fire alone will cost around $10 million.

Legislature recently passed a bill to create a state fleet of wildfire fighting planes, but there isn’t any funding. The governor’s office says they will likely study the plan after they take a look at the regional option.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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