DENVER (KDVR) — To prepare for wildfire season, the Colorado Army National Guard has partnered with local, state, and federal organizations to host an annual wildland fire training conference.
“This refresher training with our partners validates the Colorado National Guard’s readiness to protect the people of Colorado during wildfire season,” the Adjutant General of Colorado Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said. “The equipment our Soldiers use for warfighting increases our fire suppression capability.”
As part of the annual training, LUH-72 Lakota, UH-60 Black Hawk, and CH-47 Chinook aircrews will fly over the Denver area from April 13-18. These aircraft will drop water on simulated fire sites, mimicking real-world scenarios to prepare crews in fighting wildland fires.
Residents may see and hear increased military helicopter air traffic in the vicinity of: Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora; Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Commerce City; Chatfield and Strontia Springs Reservoirs, Littleton; and, Button Rock Reservoir, Lyons. During a portion of this training, aviation assets will stage at Vance Brand Airport in Longmont.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control as well as Boulder Fire will be providing academic training at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Buckley Air Force Base. This training will cover fire behavior, fire shelters, and airspace coordination.
Multiple city fire departments throughout the state, civilian firefighting companies, the US Forest Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, and various Denver water organizations and state parks will assist with and coordinate the training.
The US Forest Service will provide helicopter inspector pilots, who fly with and certify the COARNG aircrews, to ensure that they are fully qualified and capable of suppressing fires efficiently.