Wildfire experts predict average year for Colorado

(Photo: CPR/Pat Mack)
<p>Coulson Aviation remade this C-130 manufactured in 1980 for firefighting to give the plane added power for better maneuverability. </p>

Photo: wildfire 1 (file)Gov. John Hickenlooper says wildfire experts predict an average year for fires in Colorado in 2014, welcome news after two consecutive seasons that were worse than average.

But Hickenlooper warned Monday that even an average year means fires could scorch more than 155 square miles, or 100,000 acres.

The governor spoke at Centennial Airport after receiving his annual briefing on the wildfire outlook from state and federal wildfire managers.

He also signed legislation authorizing nearly $20 million for the state to buy two fire-spotting planes and contract for four helicopters and four single-engine tankers. The state currently has contracts for only two single-engine tankers.