DENVER (AP) — A bill to speed up the contracting of the next generation of air tankers is about to become law.

President Barack Obama plans to sign the bill Wednesday at the White House.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet had urged the president sign the measure quickly.

The U.S. House and Senate passed it last week. It will allow the Forest Service to buy as many as seven large air tankers outright.

Fires burning this week in New Mexico and Colorado have underscored the need to replenish the nation's aerial firefighting fleet.

This week, the U.S. Forest Service announced it was increasing the existing fleet to 17.