Kansas firefighters head to Colorado to help battle massive wildfires
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Firefighters from Kansas are headed west to assist with wildfires in Colorado.
The Wichita Fire Department is sending one fire truck and four firefighters, at the request of the Kansas Forestry Service. The Hutchinson Fire Department deployed a team of four wildland certified firefighters and one Type 1 Engine on Thursday. Johnson County will also send a crew to form Strike Teams of Structural Engines to do structure protection.
The growing fire is named the East Troublesome Fire. The East Troublesome Fire is only 5% contained and growing rapidly with high winds and Red Flag conditions. The East Troublesome Fire has burned 125,00 acres into the Rocky Mountain National Park and is progressing towards Estes Park.
Efforts are focused on evacuations. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado said voluntary evacuations are advised for residents and businesses who are concerned for their safety, feel they need additional time to exit the area, or have health conditions that may be aggravated by this incident.
Friday, Eyewitness News spoke with local crews helping in Colorado about what they’ll be facing and how long they’ll be there.
“It’s a 72-hour assignment, so we don’t know if they’re going to be there longer than 72 hours. Like, they very well could be if they don’t get this thing contained fairly quickly,” Wichita Fire Department Batallion Chief Kelly Ross said.
The Wichita Fire Department said its crew in Colorado is helping with damage assessment and structure protection in Granby Lake. While there are many structures were lost, the department said plenty were also saved.
Ross said the assistance in Colorado can help the Kansas crews be better equipped to handle dangerous situations locally involving wildfires.
Hutchinson Fire Department Division Chief Doug Hanen said the crews' presence in Colorado is also a chance to give back.
“It’s great experience for our people to go out and see that it’s a whole type of different environment,” he said.
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