USA — PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., June 14, 2013 Personnel and equipment from Colorado-based military installations are assisting local, state and federal authorities in battling the ongoing Black Forest Fire in the southern part of the state.
The support is provided through several authorities, U.S. Northern Command officials said, including mission assignments, immediate response authority and mutual aid agreements.
Support from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs includes five trucks, 16 firefighters and support to the incident management team.
Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station are providing two pumpers, 10 firefighters, shelter for Defense Department personnel, and public affairs support to Air Force Brig. Gen. Peter J. Byrne of the Colorado Air National Guard is the dual-status commander in charge of military aspects of the effort. Byrne is working with fire incident commanders under an arrangement that allows a single military joint task force to provide command and control for all military forces supporting the firefighting effort — active duty personnel, National Guardsmen and reservists.
Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., is providing a 5,000 gallon water tender with a two-member crew.
In addition to providing two brush trucks and a water tender with nine personnel, Fort Carson is providing four helicopters: two CH-47s and two UH-60s. In addition, four bulldozers from Fort Carson are cutting firebreaks on the fires north side of the fire.
Fort Carson also is providing shelter for Defense Department personnel and is operating a refueling point for military helicopters at the Air Force Academy.
Air Force Reserve Commands 302nd Airlift Wing is providing two C-130 aircraft equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System.
Support from the Colorado National Guard includes: — 120 personnel at 17 security checkpoints; — 20 personnel providing various types of assistance; — A four-member communications element; — High-clearance trucks and water tenders with 13 personnel; — Three bucket-equipped UH-60 helicopters and an LUH-72 helicopter equipped for aerial firefighting coordination; and — A public affairs officer.
Military installations also are providing residential firefighting engines and crews to allow additional local personnel to respond to the fire, officials said. That support includes an engine and crew from Fort Carson to support the Colorado Springs Fire Department, an engine and crew from Schriever Air Force Base to support the Ellicott Fire Department, and an engine and crew from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., to support Peterson Air Force Base.
U.S. Northern Command provides Defense Department capabilities for disaster response operations in support of the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Interagency Fire Center, and state and local officials.