MORRISON - West Metro Fire Rescue is deploying a team of four firefighters to assist with the still-raging 416 Fire -- but not to battle any flames.
As of Sunday, the 416 Fire grew to 16,786 acres and remained at 10 percent containment. The fire is blazing in southwestern Colorado. U.S. Highway 550 southbound is closed and more than 1,000 homes have been evacuated.
The West Metro team, called Rapid Extraction Module Support (REMS), will be focused on injured firefighters.
"Our job is to perform medical care and rope rescue," Captain Brendan Finnegan said. "Basically, we have advanced life support medical equipment, but we also have the technical rescue equipment to perform a rescue in the treacherous terrain, steep terrain that these fires are found in."
The full team is comprised of 25 firefighters.
West Metro already has some resources near Durango, including a type-6 fire engine and three firefighters, Finnegan said.
The REMS team left Sunday around 7 a.m., but it's unclear when they'll be returning. All members agree to a 14-day deployment, West Metro said, but that's subject to change depending on the need for their services.
The REMS concept is forward-thinking and started in California, according to Finnegan.
"You know Murphy's Law," Finnegan said. "If you didn't have resources on standby, that's when you could potentially see the injury, and you're already behind the eight ball to get resources in."
West Metro isn't the only area in the Rocky Mountain region with a REMS program. Greeley and Rapid City Fire Departments also have these crews.
The 416 Fire started on June 1 about 10 miles north of Durango in the San Juan National Forest.