FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Air National Guard Capt. Darin Overstreet
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (7/01/12) – Yesterday the Colorado Army and Air National Guard increased support to civil authority in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Under executive order one UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with a crew of three Colorado Army National Guardsmen, Task Force Aviation, dropped 20 BamBi Buckets® of water onto the Waldo Canyon fire bringing the to-date total to 106 buckets, 48,760 gallons.
COARNG Soldiers and Airmen from Task Force Security established 13 Traffic control points and five security check points around the affected area of the fire. Airmen from the Colorado Air National Guard 140 Wing at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., are riding along side Colorado Springs Police officers and providing security to the Incident Command post, staging area, and Spike Camp.
The Forest Service has mobilized all eight Department of Defense C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems. The airtankers are assisting with wildfire suppression efforts in Colorado and elsewhere.
These aircraft are currently based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., however, four of the aircraft will be moving on Monday to Cheyenne, WY to minimize retardant reloading time as the MAFFS are being requested to work fires not only in Colorado, but also in other States out West.
To date, the MAFFS aircraft have conducted 83 sorties, 73 air drops and dropped more than 190,000 gallons of retardant in the Rocky Mountain Region with a primary focus on the Waldo Canyon fire.
This total of eight MAFFS is in addition to the nineteen airtankers currently available nationally to combat fires. More than 11,000 personnel, more than 700 fire engines and more than 110 helicopters are also fighting wildfires around the U.S., supporting state and local efforts.
As part of heightened efforts, the Forest Service is training an Army battalion at Fort Carson, located near Colorado Springs, Colo., to potentially serve as ground firefighters to boost the number of firefighters available for wildfire suppression throughout the nation.
The training involved one day of classroom training and one to two days of field training. During the classroom training, Soldiers learn about wildfire suppression including fire behavior and fireline safety.
During field training, Soldiers will receive instruction in fire suppression methods and procedures. This effort will ensure there are additional resources available should the U.S. Forest Service require them.
Since the beginning of the fire, Fort Carson units and services have committed more than 120 soldiers, 10 bulldozers and other equipment and resources to provide assistance to ongoing fire containment operations and interagency support to the Greater Colorado Springs community.
The Dual-Status Commander will conduct a Fox 31 interview today regarding dual-status command. Focusing on the message that all forces bring highly skilled, well equipped personnel in support of incident command and local agencies.
The Colorado Joint Operations Center is continuously monitoring the Waldo Canyon, Pine ridge, Weber, and Little Sands fires.
National Guard and Active Duty have been seamlessly working hand-in-hand for more than 10 years as a total force concept in overseas contingencies. Helping our friends, families and fellow citizens is a valuable and natural extension of that partnership.
Fort Carson remains committed to assisting ongoing efforts to safeguard lives and property, providing continuous support to contain the Waldo Canyon Fire.
For more information contact the Fort Carson Public Affairs Office at (719) 526-4143/7525 or (719) 524-2446. After hours, please contact the 24-hour Fort Carson Operations Center at 526-5500 and ask for the On-Call Public Affairs Officer.