An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Oct. 7, 2022

New Tool Alerts Colorado, California Guard to Wildfires

By John Rohrer, 140th Wing Public Affairs

AURORA, Colo. – The Colorado and California National Guard have a new way to save lives and mitigate property damage from wildfires called FireGuard.

Using military-operated satellites and civilian resources from the National Interagency Fire Center, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Forest Service, service members can detect wildfires, notify authorities, and create products that can be disseminated to firefighting networks nationwide.

”One of the most critical components in saving lives and property during rapidly escalating fires is being able to make decisions based upon accurate and reliable situational awareness,” said Mike Morgan, director, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

FireGuard teams work around the clock to watch rugged, often inaccessible terrain across the country. Analysts then create polygons, a system of drawing on a map to visually represent the movement of fires based on atmospheric, geographical, fuel sources and topographic data. These polygons are then disseminated to local authorities to provide critical information to conduct evacuations and accurately allocate resources in an evolving wildfire.

During the 2021 Marshall Fire that burned over 6,000 acres in Boulder County, Colorado, pilots could not fly over the fire due to high winds. The FireGuard team provided the only products available to partners during the initial eight hours, facilitating the evacuation of 35,000 people and saving lives.

Without the information provided by Task Force FireGuard, Morgan said, situational awareness at all levels would have been significantly degraded.

“Over the last two years, the FireGuard program has generated more than 47,000 geospatial products on more than 3,500 fires across the United States,” said Peter Vidmar, intelligence unit chief, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. 

U.S. Army Col. William DiProfio, chief of the joint staff, Colorado National Guard, said FireGuard has become an integral part of the Guard’s domestic operations portfolio.

“Our Task Force is providing early detection of wildfires on a national level, something that hasn’t existed until now,” he said.

The FireGuard team has discovered numerous fires before 911 calls come in and has proven to be more accurate and detailed than “eyes-on” reporting.

“While FireGuard is meant to be an additional layer of notification, not a replacement to the 911 system, it is typically the best method of discovering fires in remote areas where humans may not be present,” Morgan said.

FireGuard is a testament to how blending military and civilian resources can improve the lives of community members by saving lives and preventing property damage, a core mission of the National Guard.

“FireGuard is changing the game when it comes to early fire detection and real-time tracking, which has resulted in a much more effective way of preventing loss of life and property in Colorado, California and around the country,” DiProfio said.

 

 

Related Articles
SEA Tony Whitehead, center, senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, poses with military training instructors from the Air Force’s 433rd Training Squadron during the 2024 Women's Air & Space Power Symposium at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, March 26, 2024. The symposium addressed military integration, gender diversity, inclusivity and leadership advocacy.
Women in Military Lauded at Air and Space Symposium
By Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Pena, | April 2, 2024
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Hundreds of female service members joined a panel to explore women’s integration into the military during the 2024 Women’s Air & Space Power Symposium at Peterson Space Force Base March 26.Total...

Soldiers of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade pose for a photo at the entrance to an ICBM launch tube on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
California Army Guard Brigade Works 24/7 to Defend Nation
By David Loeffler, | Jan. 5, 2024
VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. - Seven California Army National Guard members of Detachment 1, 100th Missile Defense Brigade, epitomize the National Guard’s motto, “Always ready, always there.”The detachment, located in...

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, adjutant general, Vermont National Guard, listens to a speaker during the 26th U.S.-Adriatic Charter Chiefs of Defense Conference in Skopje, North Macedonia, Sept. 27, 2023. The conference included Balkan region military leaders, representatives, and their National Guard state partners.
Vermont Guard Partner North Macedonia Hosts Adriatic Conference
By Capt. Mikel Arcovitch, | Oct. 5, 2023
SKOPJE, North Macedonia – U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont adjutant general, and leaders from other U.S. states joined their partner nation chiefs of defense for the 26th U.S.-Adriatic Charter Chiefs of Defense...