COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – The Colorado Springs Airport and U.S. Forest Service have announced plans to spend $17 million to build a regional firefighting base at the airport. The base will allow air tankers to load retardant to battle fires in five states and parts of 10 others.
A joint statement by Colorado Springs and the Forest Service says construction is scheduled to begin in April. Both agencies are set to pay for the initiative, currently budgeted at approximately $20 million.READ MORE: Colorado's Comeback: Red Rocks Shares Date Of Full Capacity Concerts
It will include offices, a storage building for retardant, an area where retardant will be mixed, and seven stations to load the retardant onto waiting aircraft.
This project will have the ability to serve a 600-mile radius.READ MORE: Portion Of Highway 285 Reopened Near Fairplay For Adverse Weather
The airport will use the base as a de-icing area for commercial aircraft during the winter months.
Officials say the permanent base is expected to open next year.MORE NEWS: Monday Afternoon Storms Prompt Flood Alerts Over 3 Colorado Burn Scars
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)