Media Advisory: State Fire Agency Brings on Large Airtanker to Support Colorado Wildfires

State Fire Agency Brings on Large Airtanker to Support Colorado Wildfires
State airtanker will augment existing ground and air resources in protecting Colorado

Contact: Caley Pruitt | 720-391-1565 |

July 2, 2021 - The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) announced that it has selected Neptune Aviation for an exclusive use contract for a large firefighting airtanker.

Two pieces of legislation passed this year (Senate Bills 21-049 and 21-113) provide funds for additional aviation resources. These resources include:

State-contracted Large Airtanker (LAT) and a State-contracted Type 1 Helicopter. 

The legislation also increases the number of days existing DFPC Single Engine Airtankers and helicopters are under contract. Furthermore, SB 21-049 provides additional funding and resources so that DFPC can better support Fire Departments and Counties during the early stages of a wildfire incident.

On its first day (June 24, 2021), the LAT was dispatched to the Muddy Slide Fire outside Steamboat, CO, the Oil Springs fire in Rio Blanco County, and has flown on multiple Colorado fires since. 

The BAe-146 (Tanker 10) joined other LATs and a Very Large Airtanker (VLAT) in supporting multiple fires in Colorado. From June 23-24, this and two additional aircraft that are contracted with the USDA Forest Service, flew 19 missions to three separate fires in Colorado dropping over 52,000 gallons of retardant. 

The exclusive use contract is a base year with multi-year options contract for a period not to exceed five years. The initial master contract will be for one year and may be renewed for four additional one-year periods. The aircraft will be hosted at Jeffco Airtanker Base, a USDA Forest Service facility, in Broomfield, Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Regional Airport. DFPC is excited to have Neptune as the contractor of choice to support the State with an airtanker. We anticipate a busy year in 2021 and are looking forward to providing this aerial attack resource to support wildfires for the residents and visitors of Colorado.”

The Large Airtanker (LAT) is a British Aerospace BAe 146-200 aircraft capable of carrying 3,000 gallons of fire retardant while cruising at over 400 knots at altitudes of up to 28,000 feet.

Neptune Aviation is familiar with the challenging firefighting environment in Colorado with more than 25 years of experience flying on fires in the state and around the United States. The BAe-146’s outstanding maneuverability, operational safety, and excellent field performance make the aircraft a great addition to Colorado’s firefighting assets.

FOR ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Join us for a meet and greet with DFPC and Neptune leadership as well as a tour/show-and-tell of the aircraft. 

Please note: Due to the changing fire conditions across the state of Colorado, the aircraft may be dispatched to support a fire and may not be present. We will advise the media as soon as possible if the aircraft is dispatched to a wildfire.

Date: Thursday, July 8th, 2021

Time: 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time

Location:  USDA Forest Service Jeffco Airtanker Base, 10900 W120th Avenue Building D Broomfield, CO 80021

*The event will be live-streamed on the DFPC Facebook page.