LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Agencies throughout the state are getting ready for the wildfire season and on Saturday fire crews trained for a wildfire at Chatfield Reservoir where they said they need to work on communication.
There have already been a number of red flag warning days over the past month, and even parts of northeast Colorado were under a fire weather watch on Saturday. But before a major event starts, federal, state and even local departments are getting ready.
“You never want to show up at an emergency and start handing out business cards or start shaking hands and meeting people for the first time, so it’s an important component that we’re out this week,” Maj. Troy Brown with the Colorado Army National Guard said.
That communication was put on full display on Saturday. Helicopters with the National Guard will be a vital resource fighting fires this year. The National Guard has Black Hawks and Lakotas available, They were making runs around Chatfield Reservoir and even up into Waterton Canyon.
“We get out there and practice this a little bit because this is a very complex operation — both complex from a technical task of flying and dropping water on a specific point that the ground firemen need us to drop it on; as well as the communications,” Brown said.
There are some powerful tools this year, including new radios throughout the state that allow helicopters and ground firefighters to talk unlike ever before. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control has a fixed-wing aircraft on hand with high-tech cameras, making it possible to pinpoint a fire.
Training operation will be taking place all week.
“Working on air operations, communication, incident operations, and most importantly building the relationships necessary for successful incidents during 2015,” Micki Trost with Colorado DFPC said.
The U.S. Forest Service says they’re expecting a more active fire season than last year.
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