Colorado State Fire Agency & National Guard Prep For 2021 Wildfire Season
April 2, 2021- The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) will conduct helicopter-based fire suppression and virtual classroom training April 9th-18th near Longmont with the Colorado Army National Guard. This annual interagency wildland fire training exercise is conducted along with Boulder Fire-Rescue, the City of Longmont, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Nebraska Army National Guard, Oklahoma Army National Guard, Kansas Army National Guard, Wyoming Army National Guard, and the New Mexico National Guard. The majority of aircraft will be flying April 13th-18th.
The training exercises, incorporating federal, state and local authorities, include practicing aerial water bucket drops at Denver-metro lakes and reservoirs to improve coordinated response for air- and ground-based response elements during emergencies.
“Wildfire knows no boundaries; it does not recognize jurisdictional responsibilities,” said DFPC Director Mike Morgan. “A single wildfire often crosses private, county, state, tribal and federal lands and threatens communities across all landscapes, so this type of interagency training with both our community and military partners to suppress wildland fires ensures unity of effort and speed of response.” said DFPC Director Morgan.
In addition to aerial operations, the conference will include virtual academic training at the Army Aviation Support Facility, Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. Training will be conducted in a safe, socially distant manner. Months of planning have included coordination with local authorities for site locations, movement of equipment, and environmental considerations.
“This training is an integral part of our overall domestic response training,” said Colorado Army National Guard, Director of Aviation and Safety, Colonel Will Gentle. “We will use this exercise to qualify and validate our aircrews to ensure they are ready to respond to wildland fires. Integrating aircrews with ground personnel adds a dynamic and complex layer of realism.”
The goal is to provide a safe and realistic training environment for comprehensive training, practice, and development of skills for all agencies involved.