Colorado firefighters helping with California wildfires

9NEWS reporter Eddie Randle checked in with one crew leaving in the morning.

KUSA - California's firefighters are getting some help from Colorado's.

Colorado's Office of Emergency Management is sending 22 trucks and 85 firefighters after getting a request Sunday morning.

South Metro Fire Rescue, Arvada and Aurora are just a few of the stations sending crews.

It’s been a busy year for firefighters across the country.

Colorado is seeing light fire activity right now, so many are helping in other states who are dealing with serious fires.

“This morning we were asked by the state of California to find out if we could send up to 40 engines to help with the fires,” Micki Trost, Public Information Officer for the Colorado Office of Emergency Management said.

Crews are going to California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is basically mutual aid between states.

“We've used it a lot this year,” Trost said. “All of the resources we sent to the hurricane to Florida and Puerto Rico came from this EMAC.”

South Metro Fire will be sending one of its type three engine firetrucks.

“It can go off road and fight grass fires or it can go into the city and help protect home,” Eric Hurst, Public Information Officer with South Metro Fire Rescue Authority said.

Four people will be riding inside the truck on the way to California and it could take about three days to get there.

“This truck was specially designed for firefighter comfort in mind, we want to have a safe drive but also a comfortable drive,” Hurst said.

So far, South Metro has had three deployments to northern California to help out with wildfires this year.

Monday morning they Tweeted this video showing South Metro firefighters staffing Brush Engine 41.  They are preparing to join other Colorado crews and leave for Chino California Monday morning.

“When our firefighters go out there they are gaining more skills and when they come back they are better suited to respond to fires in the district,” Hurst said.

Crews say they look at it as an opportunity to give back.

“In the past South Metro has been in that situation. There is always going to be a time when we are going to need help and we know that happens to other communities, Hurst added.

California will reimburse Colorado around $900,000 for the firefighters' efforts.

They signed up for 14 days but that could be extended to 21, which does not include travel days on the front and back ends of the trip.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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