DENVER (CBS4)– After more than a week assisting first responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, fire crews with Colorado Task Force 1 are now on their way to Alabama to stage for Hurricane Irma.
“It’s pretty unique we’d be diverting crews from one major disaster to another,” said Eric Hurst, Public Information Officer with South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR).
Nine additional South Metro firefighters deployed early Wednesday morning.
They will join the four other SMFR members on the task force that has already made thousands of rescues in Texas.
“From what I’ve heard, Colorado Task Force One was responsible for 6,000 rescues already,” said Scott Freel, SMFR firefighter and member of the state’s Urban Search and Rescue team.
Hurricanes are not the only disasters Colorado first responders are helping with around the country. Many crews with South Metro, West Metro Fire Rescue and more are in California and Oregon battling wildfires.
SMFR Engineer Bryan Grogan recently returned from a two-week deployment in Bend, Ore.
“It’s tough. It’s always hard to leave home,” Grogan told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “A lot of times that’s the hardest part, I think, because of the unknown.”
While there are several Colorado firefighters responding to calls around the nation, resources in Colorado are not spread thin in case of an emergency here.
“We keep enough people and enough equipment here in reserves so that if something major happens in Colorado, not just in our district but all across the Front Range, we can go help them, too,” Hurst explained.
Yet when there are disasters around the country, Colorado proudly steps in to help others out.
“I think it’s important and rewarding that Colorado and the different fire departments here are stepping up,” Grogan said. “As a nation, we have to come together for those big disasters. If we had it here, we couldn’t do it ourselves.”
Colorado has felt the effects of the wildfires burning in the northwest part of the country as smoke and haze settle in parts of the state. Much of that smoke is coming from the fires burning in Montana and Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins announced Wednesday that it is sending some of its crews to help firefighters there.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.