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Wyoming National Guard to Help Fight High Park Fire

High Park Fire at 2PM on June 12, 2012 (InciWeb, Google Maps)

A Wyoming National Guard UW-60 Black Hawk helicopter and a team of four Wyoming National Guard troops will work to fight the High Park Fire in northern Colorado. They are being sent by Governor Matt Mead, who the Governor’s Office says received a request for their use from the State of Colorado.

“I am pleased we can lend a hand to our neighbor,” Governor Mead said. “This is a very serious situation for the public in Colorado and we are even feeling the impacts of the smoke in Wyoming. We all pray for the safety of the residents of Colorado, for the firefighters and for our National Guard members who have been called into action.”

The Governor’s Office reports that three UH-60 Black Hawks were activated on Sunday to help fight the Guernsey State Park Fire. That fire is now 80 percent contained and the Black Hawks have been demobolized.

“We look forward to assisting in Colorado’s efforts to contain the blaze just south of Wyoming’s border,” said Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general. “We dropped more than 70,000 gallons of water on the Guernsey Complex Fire over two days and know we made a difference there. We hope our UH-60 crew can help make an impact on the High Park Fire as they assist with efforts there for the next two weeks.”

The agreement with Colorado lasts for 15 days according to the Governor’s Office and the State of Colorado will pay the cost of activating the Black Hawk and the troops. The Incident Information System reports that the High Park Fire has burned an estimated 43,433 acres as of 4 p.m. Tuesday and continues to grow. The fire is now 5 percent contained, but the western flank is in an area that contains 70 percent beetle killed trees. At least 100 structures have been damaged and hundreds of people have been evacuated, with one person confirmed dead. Five hundred personnel are already on the scene.

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