AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Wildfire experts are predicting that Colorado will experience an average to above average wildfire season this year. They need aerial support to attack fires and limit damage. That requires training.

About a dozen agencies gathered at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora on Friday morning to participate in aerial wildfire training. That training happens about once a year.

Friday’s training session focused on the academic, with crews learning technical aspects of fighting wildfires and learning about the equipment used in firefighting situations.

One piece of equipment is the BAMBI bucket which is often used to scoop up water and dump in one flames. It hangs from the underside of an aircraft, reaches 70 feet and can hold up to 500 gallons of water.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Another important part of Friday’s training included an emphasis on communication between crews. It gives state and federal crews the ability to work together in a crisis situation since they have already trained together.

“You never want to show up in an emergency and start handing out business cards and shaking hands and meeting people for the first time. It’s an important component that we’re out this week and in the months leading up to this event, that we get to know the people at the different levels. All agencies, all different organizations have different policies, it’s important that we agree to a standard to train upon and that standard is flexible in the agencies to achieve success,” said U.S. Army National Guard Major Troy Brown.

On Saturday the crews will be physically practicing with some of the equipment they learned about on Friday.

The agencies involved include The Colorado Army National Guard 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, Bureau of Land Management, and Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. The 2-135th AVN also worked with active duty Army aviation units from Ft. Carson, as well as National Guard units from Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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