PUEBLO, Colo. - Keeping track of local firefighters sent to wildfires in the West this summer is the job of the Pueblo Interagency Fire Dispatch Center.
The center is located in a wing of the U.S. Forest Service office in Pueblo. It's staffed by a variety of employees from the service and other federal agencies.
The service contacts the center when more manpower and resources are needed at a wildfire. The center determines which qualified personnel, from a pool of 1,000 between the Continental Divide and the Missouri state line, to deploy to the fire.
Eric Toft, a lead dispatcher at the center, said more than 300 personnel and 17 vehicles have been sent to help control wildfires in California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Montana.
"We've had at least 150 incidents we're supporting, just out of this office," Toft said. "As each one gets bigger or smaller, then folks are being re-mobilized from one incident to possibly another one."
Most deployed local firefighters are halfway through two-week deployments. The service will decide next weekend whether to continue or increase resources to the wildfire areas.
The center also monitors local wildfire activity and previously deployed resources from other states to Colorado for the Waldo Canyon, Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires.
Toft said the center doesn't focus solely on wildfires, but can deploy resources to floods, hurricanes and other disasters as well.