New wildland aerial firefighting center planned for Rifle

Mar 20, 2015

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Credit Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Rifle will soon be home to a new wildland firefighting training center. The Rifle - Garfield County Airport has been chosen to house what’s being called the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting. It’s planned to be a research location for testing out aerial firefighting techniques, and will be used by local, state, and federal entities.

Rifle beat out several other communities hoping to land the new project, including many on the Front Range. Officials say they chose Rifle because the area is prone to wildfires, is near the Colorado Army National Guard High-Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS), has small town affordability, as well as a long list of other factors.