Colorado Guard Troops Battle Black Forest Fire
From a Colorado National Guard News Release
CENTENNIAL, Colo., Jun. 12, 2013 Personnel from the Colorado National Guard are continuing to assist civil authorities today with firefighting support at the Black Forest fire in El Paso County, Colo.
A total of three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, each equipped with an aerial firefighting bucket capable of carrying and delivering nearly 500 gallons of water at a time, have dropped approximately 30,000 gallons of water on the fire so far.
One LUH-72 Lakota helicopter has also been provided for aerial firefighting coordination.
Thirteen members of the 1157th Firefighting Company (Engineers), along with their firefighting trucks and tenders, are also actively engaged in fighting the fire.
Two Wyoming National Guard Civil Support Team personnel provided an initial commercial Internet and phone support bridge between military and civilian responders until they were relieved by eight airmen from the Colorado National Guard's Joint Incident Site Communications Capability team 16. The JISCC team will continue to support the incident command with communications support as needed.
Additionally, 40 personnel from Colorado's National Guard Reaction Force have been placed at security checkpoints in the Black Forest area.
The Colorado Army National Guard is operating under immediate response authority to assist the El Paso County Sheriff's Department in fighting the Black Forest fire.
"It's always painful to see neighbors in harm's way," said Air Force Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, Colorado’s adjutant general. "That's why domestic operations are one of the most rewarding missions we have in the National Guard. I have every confidence in the Colorado National Guard citizen-soldiers we have supporting civil authorities. Not only are most combat veterans, but they are wildfire veterans from the tragic fires of last summer."
The Colorado Army National Guard helicopters and crews launched from the Army Aviation Support Facility on Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., and are members of 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation.