Colorado governor releases National Guard to help battle wildfire
DURANGO — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has declared a disaster emergency to add resources for crews battling a wildfire in the southwest part of the state.
Hickenlooper’s declaration Thursday allows the Colorado National Guard to provide support if needed. The state already has sent aircraft to help ground crews battle the blaze, which has grown to more than 250 acres since it began Wednesday and forced residents to evacuate 170 homes.
A house fire started the blaze about 2 miles west of Durango. Firefighters battled a second spot fire nearby that likely was caused by a wind-blown ember from the first blaze.
The Durango Herald reported that two aircraft had to jettison about 1,600 gallons of retardant late Wednesday when ground crews spotted a drone flying over the area. Air operations resumed Thursday.
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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.