CENTENNIAL, Colo. (6/13/12) – National Guard air crews and support teams from Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska are continuing firefighting efforts at the High Park fire in Larimer County, Colo.
To date, National Guard aircrews have dropped an estimated 9,160 gallons of water on the High Park Fire.
National Guard helicopter crews began fighting the fire June 11.
Currently, five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, representing the Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska National Guard, are based at the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport, where CONG fuelers are ensuring the expedient turnaround of aerial support.
The fire started June 9 and has burned approximately 46, 600 acres to date and is currently 10 percent contained.
More than 2,600 evacuations remain in place and at least 1,000 homes are threatened. Nineteen structures have been confirmed destroyed.
Additionally, Colorado Guardsmen are augmenting the Larimer County Sheriff's Department to ensure the protection of private property.
"The Colorado National Guard is supporting law enforcement in evacuated areas to help secure homes and property," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. "The Guard has so many capabilities, each handled with such professionalism, that we have nothing but trust in their mission success."
All combined, the National Guard is providing the following support to the High Park fire response:
- The National Guard Reaction Force is augmenting the Larimer County Sheriff's Department to ensure the protection of private property. The Soldiers represent Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 193rd Military Police Battalion, Colorado Army National Guard.
- The National Guard Communications Element is providing an interoperable communications platform that allows multiple agencies, both military and civilian, to communicate via phone, internet and radio. The unit comprises Airmen from the Colorado National Guard's 140th Communications Flight. The NGCE relieved the 8th Civil Support Team, comprised of a joint team of CONG Soldiers and Airmen.
- Two Soldiers are providing administrative support for the Incident Command Team headquartered at the Colorado Army National Guard's Fort Collins Readiness Center.
- The Black Hawk helicopters represent the Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska Army National Guard.
- One additional Colorado Guard UH-60 helicopter and flight crew, outfitted with 500-gallon bucket, is also prepared to support Hewlett Fire suppression operations, if called by the governor.
- A number of Soldiers and Airmen are currently providing administrative and operations support.
Several of these Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen live and work in Fort Collins and surrounding communities. They represent neighbors and friends, whose sole mission to protect property and ensure public safety. Some of these men and women have also been directly affected by the fire.
The Colorado National Guard is operating under the governor’s executive order no. D 2012-014 to support and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department and the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team in fighting the High Park fire.
National Guard support from neighboring states is being made available through the use of the emergency management assistance compact, a mutual-aid agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during declared states of emergency, and allows unaffected states to provide resources to affected states including the use of National Guard forces and equipment.
“We, as members of the National Guard, are always available and ready to support neighbors in need at the request of the governor,” said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen Mike Edwards, who commands the Colorado National Guard. “It’s our highest priority to respond immediately in times of need. We are neighbors helping neighbors -- and even neighboring states. That’s why we serve.”
The firefighting helicopters and crews are equipped with one BamBi Bucket® each. One bucket is capable of carrying and delivering nearly 500 gallons of water at a time.
One helicopter is outfitted with hoist capability to perform medical evacuation, if necessary.
Public information is available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 where Information Officers are answering the phone, and at www.larimer.org or on Twitter @larimersheriff #highparkfire, or Inciweb at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2904.
National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen are always ready, always there.
FOR EDITORS: The UH-60 Black hawk helicopters are being flown by Soldiers of the Army National Guard. Support personnel are Airmen from the Colorado Air National Guard and Soldiers from the Colorado Army National Guard. Collectively, these Soldiers and Airmen are National Guardsmen.
CORRECTION: On June 12, we erroneously reported that the 220th Military Police Company comprised the National Guard Reaction Force. This release reflects the correction that Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 193rd Military Police Battalion, Colorado Army National Guard, is assigned the NGRF mission.
File photos (Lower North Fork Fire): http://bit.ly/OsIX2S
Video - National Guard Firefighting: http://bit.ly/KZQeZI
UH-60 Black Hawk: http://1.usa.gov/6kraJa
National Guard Reaction Force: http://bit.ly/MpQoHW
Civil Support Team: http://bit.ly/KqBMdK
Emergency Management Assistance Compact: http://bit.ly/MA4fZ4
National Guard Communications Element, who operate the Joint Continental United States Communications Support Environment: http://bit.ly/LQUxTg
http://co.ng.mil | http://co.ng.mil/Facebook | http://co.ng.mil/Twitter | http://co.ng.mil/Youtube | http://co.ng.mil/Flickr