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Colorado National Guard joins in aerial battle against Boulder County fire

By Colorado National Guard March 20, 2017

BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, via a verbal executive order, authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist civil authorities in Boulder County with aerial firefighting support of the Sunshine fire.

About 50 Colorado Guard members were on duty Monday for this mission, according to the National Guard Bureau.

The initial request is to support with aerial firefighting helicopters and a forward aerial refueling point. The equipment composition of the request includes two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, one CH-47 Chinook helicopter and a refueling truck from the Colorado Army National Guard.

Aircraft, from the Chief Warrant Officer 5 David R. Carter Aerial Support Facility located on Buckley Air Force Base, have arrived on scene in Boulder and are operating. They will continue to do so at the discretion of the incident commander. The crew belongs to the 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation.

Each helicopter is equipped with an aerial water bucket, which is capable of carrying and delivering nearly 500 (Black Hawk) or 2,000 (Chinook) gallons of water or fire retardant slurry at a time.

"We, as members of the National Guard, are always available and ready to support those in need," said the adjutant general of Colorado, Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, who commands the Colorado National Guard. "Supporting citizens is our highest priority in times of need. We are neighbors helping neighbors. That's why we serve."

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