CENTENNIAL, Colo. – The Colorado Army National Guard's 2nd Brigade, 135th General Support Aviation Battalion, is hosting an annual wildland fire training conference in partnership with local, state and federal partners to prepare for wildfire season.
LUH-72 Lakota, UH-60 Black Hawk, and CH-47 Chinook aircrews will fly over the Denver metropolitan area April 13-18 as part of the annual training.
"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 while crews are at home."
The aircraft will drop water on simulated fire sites, build crew proficiency in fighting wildland fires, and assist ground forces during real-world scenarios.
Emergency Management Assistance Compact partners Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming will send Army National Guard aircraft and crews to participate in academic and flight training.
In addition to aerial operations, the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and Boulder Fire will provide academic training at the Army Aviation Support Facility at BAFB. Training will cover fire behavior, fire shelters, and airspace coordination.
Throughout the front range, numerous city fire departments, civilian firefighting companies, the United States Forest Service, The Federal Aviation Administration, and various Denver water organizations and State Parks assist with and coordinate the training.
The USFS provides helicopter inspector pilots, who fly with and certify the COARNG aircrews, to ensure that they are fully proficient and capable of suppressing fires with precision and efficiency.
Months of planning have included coordination with local authorities for site locations, movement of equipment, and environmental considerations.