Fire resources in Colorado are under constant evaluation

Colorado is now eligible for federal resources

Denver - The federal government uses a methodical system to determine what resources are placed where.  Size and location are just some of the factors.  The proximity to homes and watersheds is also evaluated.
 
In an fire, the goal is to first see what crews and what equipment are available locally.  Then requests are made across the state and the country.  Weather also plays a big role in positioning.

"We have a seven-day outlook for fire weather and what the conditions are.  And that helps us determine the priorities too," said Ricardo Zuniga of the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center.

For the moment, a DC-10 jumbo jet is in Colorado -- but it is considered a nationwide resource -- so it could instantly be sent anywhere.

Initially the airplane can reach out quite far to a fire from the base it happens to be at.  But then it's more efficient to relocated to a new base. So, we during the off season, survey some 32 or 33 bases in the west," said the aircraft's owner, Rick Hatton of 10Tanker.

While the tankers are certainly attention getting, fire managers stress - people put out fires, not planes.  Officials stress every fire zone is unique.

"It's very important to get the right resource to the right place at the right time," said Zuniga.