STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The three largest wildfires in the state of Colorado’s history all occurred last year, with each of them having started out small. A bipartisan bill soon to be introduced in the state Legislature would buy a specialized helicopter to fight fires fast, while they are still small.

State Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, who represents the 8th Congressional District that includes Routt County and serves on the state’s Joint Budget Committee, is a prime sponsor on a package of bills meant to address wildfire prevention, one of which purchases a Firehawk helicopter.

“It’s a helicopter that can fly fast, survive wind currents, and we can get it to fires very quickly and get them out before they explode like (East) Troublesome,” Rankin said. “The number of fires, relative to past years, really show that we have to do a much more aggressive job than we did in the past, because we have more fires.”

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