Cowing the Inferno

Eighteen members of a specialized unit trained to defend structures against wildfires deployed to Colorado Springs, Colo., from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., to help protect military installations from the fires raging there. Vandenberg’s “Hot Shot” crew is the only Defense Department fire brigade specifically trained to save structures and not just extinguish flames. It brings “a critical skill set to the fight,” said Mark Farias, Vandenberg fire department chief, in a June 27 release. “These guys will be on the front lines of this wildfire using their training regarding wildfires and urban interface to save lives and structures in the state of Colorado,” he added. A C-17 transport from March ARB, Calif., airlifted two of the brigade’s team-carrier vehicles, one command truck, and one all-terrain fire tender to Colorado on June 27. The team planned to deploy against the Waldo Canyon fire that’s been encroaching on the Air Force Academy. (Vandenberg report by SSgt. Erica Picariello)