Colorado National Guard goes aloft for firefighting training

Colorado’s National Guard (CONG) and affiliated regional partners are performing aerial training exercises May 2-7 in conjunction with response readiness to wildland fire hazards plus related classroom training, an Army release said.

In addition to the national-level U.S. Forest Service, agencies collaborating on the exercise include the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Denver Water, and local responders such as fire and police departments.

Residents and visitors will observe aerial activity in the vicinity of Chatfield Reservoir, Littleton; Button Rock Reservoir, Lyons; Gross Reservoir, Boulder; and Vance Brand Airport, Longmont. No hazards are posed to civilians during this training, the release said.

Colorado Army National Guard State Army Aviation Officer U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joshua Day said the exercise is vital to overall domestic response readiness. "We will use this exercise to qualify and validate our aircrews to ensure they are ready to respond to wildland fires,” Day said in the release. “Integrating aircrews with ground personnel adds a dynamic and complex layer of realism."

The practice will include helicopter-supported aerial fire suppression and bucket drops during the daytime.

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