The Rifle-Garfield County Airport is building a new drone-training facility, the first space in Colorado devoted to researching using drones to fight wildfires.
Colorado's Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting (CoE) is part of the state’s Department of Public Safety.
It's interested in using drones to assist in prescribed burns and night firefighting operations.
The CoE has been leasing space at the airport until now. Last month, Garfield County commissioners approved a $300,000 contract to construct a permanent home for the CoE.
The building will house a flight qualification course to test drone pilots on basic operating skills.
The CoE says that the indoor space will allow year-round evaluations of pilots.
Airport Director Brian Condie said he looks forward to having the new facility at the airport.
Construction will be completed in the fall.