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Firefighters, law enforcement, military practice quick wildfire response

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: May 03 2014 07:25:41 PM CDT
Updated On: May 03 2014 07:46:30 PM CDT

Colorado firefighters, law enforcement and the military came together to practice what they very well may face this fire season.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -

Colorado firefighters, law enforcement and the military came together to practice what they very well may face this fire season.

Two different training exercises were going on today to make sure Colorado agencies can communicate better than before to keep everyone safe.

30 fire trucks from dozens of fire stations along the Front Range met at the Douglas County Justice Center for the "Broken Arrow" exercise.

"This is a landmark day, a historical day in the state of Colorado fire service,” said Colorado Springs Fire Department Chief Chris Riley.

Organized in strike teams five fire engines and a chief officer leading the team had one goal: get there in 90 minutes or less.

"Most of them are here under 90 minutes. How to communication go? That appears to have gone very, very well,” said Chief Riley.

The El Paso County strike team arrived early, in one hour and 20 minutes.

"In firefighting, especially wildland firefighting, communication is probably one of the biggest issues that we have. And being able to get everybody on the same page, on the same channels of communication is huge," said Colorado Springs Fire Department Lt. Steve Winters.

Only a few miles away, the Colorado National Guard and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office were doing their own wildfire training.

"The air portion of our response has been well rehearsed this winter. The ground portion of our response is rehearsed today,” said Colorado National Guard Lt. Col. Mitch Utterback.

The training continued at a simulated security checkpoint for an evacuation.

"You can't be in the military and hope that nothing bad will happen. Gosh I hope we don't get attacked on Pearl Harbor. Golly I hope nobody flies planes into the World Trade Center. We've got to be ready for that stuff,” said Lt. Col. Utterback.

There will be another "Broken Arrow" training session in Loveland on May 13.

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