Springs fire center proposal 'has it all'


A slurry drop made during the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. - COLORADO SPRINGS PROPOSAL
  • Colorado Springs proposal
  • A slurry drop made during the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012.
As expected, the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance emphasizes its proximity to military assets in its application to be designated as the host community for the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting. ("Lofty proposal," Jan. 28, 2015)

The partnering opportunities in our community are unique and extensive. The region hosts key military assets like US Northern Command that is responsible for all Department of Defense response to civil authorities, including in cases like large fires, as well as key military aerial firefighting capabilities, such as the 302nd Air Wing’s Modular Aerial Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) and Fort Carson’s helicopter fleet, that have responded to many fires in Colorado.
In addition, the proposal, obtained by the Independent through the Colorado Open Records Act, notes "a multitude of high tech companies" are located in Colorado Springs, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Exelis, Hewlett Packard, Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris Corporation, and Quantum Corporation.

The proposal, one of six received as of last Friday's deadline, notes that if the COE is located here, it would be "minutes from the largest expanse of WUI in the state. A region that has felt the scope of the threat like no other and is anxious to partner with the CoE."

The Springs' response offers office space, without charge, in the east terminal of the Colorado Springs Airport, and El Paso County offers the former Sheriff's Headquarters at 101 W. Costilla, owned by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

The RBA's Andy Merritt, who headed up the report, had this to say in an interview:

"I haven't seen all the other proposals, so I can't compare proposals. What makes us stand out is that we provide the full scope of everything they would need to be successful and achieve their vision of being the world leader. We have very strong technology-focused industry that would be critical to helping do the technology and innovative components. We have strong university capabilities from a variety of institutions. We have significant military capability that has tremendous experience in fighting fires and would offer opportunities in partnership to test those capabilities and try to do some things they haven't done before."

He also noted the proposal offers office space at the airport and off-site, or both, and that Colorado Springs has the largest urban interface of anywhere in the state.

Lastly, he adds, "We've got the greatest amount of firefighting experience in WUI [wildland urban interface] fires amongst our professional firefighters of anywhere in Colorado. We just think when you look at all the different components you need, we have it."

The proposal also boasts that positions to be hired for the COE would command lower salaries than in Denver or Fort Collins. For example:

Colorado Springs entire proposal:

See related PDF CSprings.COE.pdf
A decision by the state is expected at the end of the month.

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