By Capt. Ronald BaileyMay 1, 2017
CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Colorado National Guard and more than a dozen local, state and federal agency partners will conduct annual helicopter-based fire suppression training May 2-7 at multiple locations in Colorado.
CONG personnel will conduct aerial operations and bucket drops largely during daylight hours in order to certify aircrews in preparation for wildfire response.
"Training with our community partners to suppress wildland fires ensures unity of effort and speed of response," said The Adjutant General of Colorado Michael A. Loh. "The large number of agencies participating makes this training especially realistic."
"This training is an integral part of our overall domestic response training," said Colorado Army National Guard State Army Aviation Officer U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joshua Day. "We will use this exercise to qualify and validate our aircrews to ensure they are ready to respond to wildland fires. Integrating aircrews with ground personnel adds a dynamic and complex layer of realism."
In addition to aerial operations, the conference will include academic training at the Army Aviation Support Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora.
Local residents and park visitors will notice UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and LUH-72 Lakota helicopters near: Chatfield Reservoir, Littleton; Button Rock Reservoir, Lyons; Gross Reservoir, Boulder; Vance Brand Airport, Longmont.
Training will be conducted in a safe manner. Months of planning have included coordination with local authorities for site locations, movement of equipment, and environmental considerations.
Participating agencies include the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Denver Water, and local fire and police departments.