GOP lawmakers push for state’s own firefighting aircraft

Photo: C-130 fire fighting aircraft
A U.S. Air Force modular airborne fire fighting system-equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft assigned to the 302nd Airlift Wing releases a fire-retardant solution to help stop the spreading of fires in El Paso County, Colo., June 13, 2013.

The proposal comes in the wake of massive blazes, like the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon fires, that have torched a thousand homes and killed five people.

At a news conference, GOP lawmakers proposed the state lease three firefighting helicopters for this year's fire season and acquire four C-130s that could be retrofitted as tankers for next year.

"We're one match strike, one lightning strike, one possible terrorist, arsonist match strike away from a catastrophic fire," Senator Steven King (R-Grand Junction) said.

King estimates it would cost up to $12 million a year to lease the choppers and about $28 million to retrofit the tankers.

On Thursday, the governor dismissed the idea as too costly, saying it needs further study.