South Metro fire crews head to California

Wildland firefighters to help as Western states battle worsening blazes

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South Metro Fire Rescue crews have gone to California as part of a united effort in fighting wildfires in the Western states.

According to the national Interagency Fire Center (IFC), more than 12,000 firefighters have been deployed throughout the country to fire nearly 60 large fires burning, including the Beckwourth Complex in California, which has burned more than 100,000 acres.

Connor Christian, communications specialist for South Metro Fire Rescue, said the wildland team sent to California is based out of Station 20, a newly built fire station in Highlands Ranch.

“We always have firefighters on a deployment ready list in case wildfires start in the state of Colorado or in states around the country,” Christian said. “When our department receives an order for wildland resources, we will send a variety of options.”

South Metro serves a large expanse of south Arapahoe and north Douglas counties.

In a Twitter post, firefighters Wes Polk, Travis McConnell, Todd Bramer and John Peterson bid farewell to home, heading to California for 14 days. Christian said when this crew returns, if more help is still needed, South Metro will send out another crew.

Christian said in some cases, crews only get a few hours’ notice to deploy because a fire is growing out of control. In this case, Christian said the four-man crew got notice overnight that they would be shipping out by morning on July 13.

Christian said a wildland deployment can consist of multiple fire operations responsibilities, including providing structure protection, digging fire lines, or serving as a look out for changes in the fire’s behavior as it reacts to the weather.

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