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Western Governors Would Pool Resources

July 5, 2013 State of Idaho, State of Montana, State of Wyoming No Comments
Gov Mead

Members of the Western Governors’ Association are beginning to talk about putting together a joint regional aerial fleet to fight fires in the western states.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told reporters Tuesday that the idea was first brought up at the WGA meeting in Utah late last month.  Wyoming Governor Matt Mead agrees that the idea is worth looking at.   However, he says the current process is amazingly good between the states.  Mead says, “Last year, we were fighting fire and we asked for help and we also provided help.  For example…  you know you have to manage your resources and everyone understands your first priority is your state, and if you are able to help another state you do that – and I have never been in a situation where the western governors in particular…  if they can send people and equipment, they do it.”  As an example, Mead says Wednesday he visited with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and approved a C-130 equipped with retardant from the Wyoming National Guard to be deployed to help on the Arizona fires.  Mead echoed Hickenlooper’s comment that the idea is very preliminary; but the cost of aerial firefighting is (in Mead’s words) “a big lift for states to tackle in isolation” and the governors suggest it might be more economically achieved by working together with other states.

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