MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) – Firefighters from West Metro Fire Rescue’s Station 9 are among crews from across the state racing to southern California to help battle the devastating wildfires.
The growing blazes threatened tens of thousands of homes and businesses that were at risk of burning down.
Firefighters from three local departments across the state, including Frederick-Firestone and Grand Junction, are en route to command centers near the burning areas.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control is also deploying 17-fire engines to Chino, California.
Copter4 video showed the early Wednesday morning departure of a four-man crew from West Metro Fire Rescue heading towards San Bernadino, California.
“We’re here to help people. Whether that means the folks who live two blocks from our station or the folks who live three or four states away,” said Jonathan Ashford, one of the wildland crew members preparing to leave.
Lt. Tyler Sugaski of West Metro Fire said the current deployment was just one of about a dozen missions the department’s wildfire fighters respond to every year across the state and the country.
“Once they’re signed up and available to go, you could really get called anywhere,” Sugaski told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
The Global Supertanker based in El Paso county flew out on Tuesday.
West Metro Fire Rescue called on its brush 39 unit, which Sugaski believed was the department’s best fit to handle the task at hand.
Local crews in California, he said, would be unable to put out the fires all on their own.
On the same token, future assistance from California firefighters may be needed in Colorado.
“If someday we had a large emergency that our department couldn’t handle, we would rely on outside agencies providing their firefighters to us,” Sugaski said.
After spending two weeks on the ground in California to assist with firefighting efforts however needed, the West Metro wildland crew expected to return to Colorado on December 23rd.