Coloradans Deployed To Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, And Wildfires In California Help In Crises

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Photo: 2017 California Wildfires | Firefighter w/ Hose - AP
A firefighter holds a water hose while fighting a wildfire Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Almost 100 Colorado firefighters are now in California, fighting blazes that have swept across that state.

The head of Colorado's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Kevin Klein, tells Colorado Matters that California is just one place Coloradans have helped out during the many emergencies that have hit the country over the last several months, including a coroner deployed to Las Vegas and 20 mental health workers who are still in Puerto Rico aiding hurricane victims.

Klein says Coloradans are working in other states — while colleagues may have to work overtime at their home fire stations or other employers — due to an agreement among states to help each other when disasters strike, called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

"No state can prepare for everything that they may get hit with," Klein said. "And that's why we have the compacts."

Colorado has benefited from the agreement, including after the historic 2013 floods on the state's Front Range.