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Douglas County gets exclusive use of firefighting helicopter

The county hired Trans Aero Helicopter for 153 days of exclusive use of a Type 2 helicopter and crew, according to the county.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Douglas County has hired the use of an exclusive firefighting helicopter and its crew in preps to fight future wildfires, according to the county website. 

The 153-day contract gives the county use of a Type-2 helicopter and crew from Trans Aero Helicopter, the county said. Douglas County called this "the most significant aerial firefighting investment by any local government in Colorado," on their website. 

Douglas County said wildfire is the number one natural hazard in the county. The contract allows the helicopter to be dispatched within the county when it is needed the most, the county said.

The helicopter is equipped with a 300-gallon water tank and has a nine-passenger capacity.

Credit: KUSA

The aircraft arrived in Douglas County on June 1 and is stationed in the county through Oct. 31, according to the county. The total cost of the chopper and crew is $2,080,858, according to county documents. 

Staff from the Douglas County Office of Emergency Management received training in general helicopter safety, loading and unloading passengers and gear, aviation communications, operational deployment of firefighters and practiced water drops, the county said.

Credit: KUSA

Douglas County also holds contracts with three other companies to assist on an as-needed basis in the event of a major wildfire, the county said on its website.

"Redundancy in aerial support for wildfires allows the county to execute a ‘hard, heavy, fast’ response to wildfires and protect residents and their property," reads the county's website.

The county suggests residents sign up for CodeRED emergency alerts and learn best practices for wildfire prevention and property mitigation.

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