Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Birds to bulldozers: Carson helps to control fire

Photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault. Pilots and crew members of the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, hover down to release water onto the Black Forest Fire, June 12.

By Staff Sgt. Wallace Bonner

4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

During the most destructive fire in Colorado state history, units across Joint Task Force Fort Carson supported Colorado Springs and El Paso County community emergency services personnel through direct firefighting support, building fire breaks and providing forward operating refueling services, June 11-15.

Soldiers with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade provided helicopter crews to perform Bambi Bucket drops, completing 914 drops, for a total of 689,970 gallons (see story pages 22-23). The brigade also deployed a forward area refueling point to the U.S Air Force Academy airfield, to give the helicopters more time on station (see story Page 6), forward air traffic controllers to oversee air traffic, and a command and control aircraft to assist in directing the firefighting efforts.

The 52nd Engineer Battalion put 15 Soldiers on the front line of firefighting efforts, along with four D7 bulldozers, to create firebreaks and remove flammable debris away from the fire’s path (see story Page 7).

Civilian support agencies on post also stepped forward, with the Directorate of Emergency Services and the Department of Public Works providing two type-6 brush trucks, three water tenders and nine personnel to protect homes and property amid containment efforts. A crew also backfilled a local fire station (See stories Page 8).

Child, Youth and School Services assisted by opening up a shelter on post, open to all military, Department of the Army civilians and their Families evacuated by the fire (see story Page 5).

The JTF Carson support comes as a result of the Department of Defense’s immediate response authority and a memorandum of agreement between El Paso County and the post.

In addition to the Black Forest Fire support, Fort Carson firefighters from the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site Fire Station joined firefighting efforts in La Veta, south of Colorado Springs, at the request of civilian agencies. That assistance came through a mutual aid agreement between the post and surrounding communities along the Front Range.

The U.S Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley Air Force Base, 302nd Airlift Wing, and the Colorado and Wyoming National Guards all joined Fort Carson in providing support for the Black Forest Fire containment efforts.

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