Aircraft key to Colorado's new firefighting strategy

DENVER - Colorado will begin a new strategy for fighting wildfires in the coming weeks by deploying aircraft designed to pinpoint the location of blazes quicker after the first smoke sighting.

The goal is to identify the location of wildfires within an hour of a smoke report to begin suppression efforts faster.

The state is buying two fire-spotting planes as part of a fleet state lawmakers approved this spring after catastrophic wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes the prior two years.

The planes will have thermal-imaging capabilities from several miles away. Colorado's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said no other state owns these types of planes.

The planes will also provide information to ground crews about exactly where the fire is and what fuels are burning.

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