By Karen Morfitt

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – There are four massive fires burning in Colorado that just about everyone in the state knows about, but everyday, crews are fighting to keep dozens more from exploding.

(credit: CBS)

“We have two to 10 to 20 initial attacks a day that you never hear about… and that’s what we want.”

Larry Helmerick is the fire information coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center. The RMACC is the agency responsible for dispatching resources to every fire, not just in Colorado, but the entire region.

(credit: CBS)

“We control aircraft all crews in the Rocky Mountain area all equipment, dozers, operators, overhead, teams all those things go through us either up or down the chain,” he said.

Currently there are 80 different aircraft and nearly 3,000 firefighters, from dozens of agencies, fighting wildfires in Colorado.

Helmerick says those numbers change daily, depending on who needs what on a national level.

“Each evening we rank the fires in the Rocky Mountain areas based on critical needs, comparison of life. Safety is number one. Infrastructure is two and it goes down from there,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Even the smallest fires can take priority.

“Our number one goal here and across the nation is the initial attack, those men and women on the ground they’re our first responders,” Helmerick said. “We will throw every aircraft we have at an initial attack fire to keep it from getting big.”

Karen Morfitt


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