Colorado The Top Priority For Federal Wildfire Officials
GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
DENVER (CBS4) – Wildfires are roaring across Colorado and every resource the state has is in use.
Coordinating the regional effort happens at the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center in Lakewood.
“Even though we have a lot of fire crews, aircraft here in Colorado, there are still plenty of resources available in other parts of the country,” Steve Segin with the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said.
Organization the national resources comes from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Bill Kaage is the National Park Service Wildland Fire Director at the center.
“(Colorado is) the highest priority right now across the country – and we prioritize by areas of the country, not by fires,” Kaage said.
It’s estimated about 3,000 firefighters are in Colorado and about half of those come from outside the region.
Nationwide there are 15 air tankers available and Colorado has four of those and four others from the military. Add in 45 helicopters and that compliments 82 total aircraft in Colorado.
On the ground there are 260 engines, but as the fires continue to burn the fear is all the effort is not enough.
Every day there is a new evaluation. The latest update meant more help for Colorado.
“We brought in 15 additional crews as well as 25 additional engines from California, pumping up the resources we have here,” Segin said.
When it comes to resources, right now there is no competition.
“I don’t have a lot of resource commitment outside of the Rocky Mountain area,” Kaage said.
Typically firefighters work 14 days and get two days off as a new crew rotates in.
The fire season follows a predictable schedule. It starts in the southwest and moves north. The resources will follow the fires.
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