Colorado National Guard Called to Help Battle Wildfires

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A Colorado National Guard Blackhawk helicopter prepares to take off from Boulder Municipal Airport.
FILE -- In this July 12, 2016 photo, a Colorado National Guard Blackhawk helicopter prepares to take off from Boulder Municipal Airport, returning to Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora after crews completed a several-days mission helping battle a blaze outside Nederland, Colorado. (Brennan Linsley/AP Photo)

The Colorado National Guard was activated Friday afternoon to help in the battle against wildfires in Colorado.

Gov. Jared Polis "verbally authorized" the guard to assist the State Emergency Operations Center and incident commanders fighting wildfires, according to a news release.

A Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew is on standby at the High-Altitude Army National Guard Training Site in Gypsum. The helicopter and its crew can provide a search and rescue capability to incident commanders if needed.

Members of the high-altitude training site have helped rescue almost 500 people in Colorado's mountains since the unit inception in 1986, the release said.

"Whether it's the fight against COVID or the fight against drought-induced wildfires, Colorado's National Guard is ready to rise to the challenge to help our communities," said Gov. Polis, in the release. "We are thankful to the Guardsmen and women for their support during this challenging time."

State emergency officials have requested about 30 National Guard soldiers to help around the clock with traffic control in Larimer County where the Cameron Peak fire is burning.

"We are always ready, always there to assist our local and state partners during these challenging times," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan, in the release.

The guard's mobile testing and training teams can provide COVID-19 tests to firefighters. 

This article is written by Kieran Nicholson from Denver Post and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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