Gov. Polis Activates Colorado National Guard to Assist with Wildland Fire Response

Friday, August 21, 2020

CENTENNIAL – Gov. Jared Polis has verbally authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and incident commanders during the wildfires affecting Colorado. At the SEOC’s request, a Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew is on standby at the High-Altitude Army National Guard Training Site in Gypsum, Colorado, to provide a search and rescue capability to incident commanders. The Black Hawk is equipped with a hoist that can help to quickly evacuate firefighters and residents, saving lives. HAATS provides power management training in Colorado’s mountainous terrain to rotary-wing military helicopter pilots from around the world. HAATS aircrews have helped ground rescue teams save nearly 500 people from Colorado’s mountain ranges since the unit’s inception in 1986.


“Whether it’s the fight against COVID or the fight against drought-induced wildfires, Colorado’s National Guard is ready to rise to the challenge to help our communities,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “We are thankful to the Guardsmen and women for their support during this challenging time.”


The SEOC also requested that the CONG provide about 30 Soldiers to establish 24/7 traffic control points to assist the Larimer County Sheriff to restrict unauthorized access to the Cameron Peak Fire area of operations.


“Our Colorado National Guard Citizen Warriors are ready to provide additional capabilities to the SEOC and incident commanders to help save lives, reduce suffering, and prevent great property damage from the wildfires,” The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said. “We are always ready, always there to assist our local and state partners during these challenging times.”


The CONG’s Mobile Testing and Training teams are also available to provide COVID-19 testing to wildland firefighting teams. About 40 CONG members are on duty with Task Force Test Support to conduct testing at facilities at the request of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. CONG planners are supporting local emergency operation centers in Colorado communities that the state has designated during the state’s COVID-19 response.


Tomorrow, Gov. Polis will welcome the 44th adjutant general of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan at a media availability following the assumption of command ceremony at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado, Aug. 22, 2020, at 10:30 a.m.


Clellan will be available to answer questions about the CONG’s assistance to local and state partners during the wildfires. RSVP required with Ms. Elena O’Bryan, CONG Public Affairs, 720-250-1053.