Wildfires: Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming National Guards battling wildfires

By Sgt. Darron Salzer | National Guard Bureau | June 11, 2012

ARLINGTON, Va. - National Guard units are currently battling wildfires in parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, deploying approximately 180 Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen on State Active Duty to assist local civilian first responders.

In Colorado, Army National Guard members were assisting firefighting efforts at the High Park fire in Larimer County with two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi buckets and a total of eight personnel on State Active Duty as of 8:00 a.m. June 11, said a report.

Colorado Guard members were also providing a fuel truck to support the wildfire mission, and manpower to the Incident Command Team headquartered at the Colorado National Guard’s Fort Collins Readiness Center.

"We as members of the National Guard see it fit to always be available and ready to support those in need at the request of the governor," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Edwards, the adjutant general of the Colorado National Guard. "It's our highest priority to respond immediately in times of need. We are neighbors helping neighbors. That's why we serve."

Guard members in New Mexico are providing support to what has become the largest wildfire in the history of the state, affecting approximately 263,500 acres near Reserve, N.M. according to officials there.

The New Mexico National Guard was providing approximately 117 personnel as of 8:00 a.m., as well as two UH-60s equipped with hoists for Medical Evacuation support, two M1083 Standard Cargo Trucks, and 11 Humvees with personnel providing roving patrols and establishing checkpoints, said a report.

In Wyoming, approximately 46 Guard members were providing wildfire suppression support as of 3:00 p.m. EDT June 11. The Wyoming National Guard is also providing fire trucks, communications equipment and three UH-60s equipped with 660-gallon Bambi buckets on site, said Guard officials there.

"We are glad we are able to assist in this firefighting effort," said Army Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, the adjutant general of the Wyoming National Guard. "The National Guard's role is to assist when called by the governor and we are proud to have this role in protecting Wyoming's residents and its natural assets."