Press release: All three Summit County fire departments send crews to Black Forest wildfire



12 June 2013


Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209



All three Summit County fire departments send crews to Black Forest wildfire


Firefighters from Copper Mountain, Lake Dillon and Red, White & Blue fire departments were deployed on Wednesday to the 8,000-acre wildfire in the Black Forest northeast of Colorado Springs.

The crews, which could be out as long as two weeks, will help battle the Black Forest Fire that has destroyed or damaged an estimated 80 to 100 homes and forced the evacuation of some 7,500 people.

Copper Mountain sent Lt. Tim Schlough, firefighter/paramedic Russ Orton and engineer Mark Neilson in a Type VI four-wheel-drive engine. Lake Dillon sent engine boss Dennis Jackson and wildland firefighters Frank Towers and Aaron Ferdig in a Type III four-wheel-drive wildland engine. And Red, White & Blue sent Capt. Keith McMillan, Driver/Operator Tim Caldwell and Firefighter/Paramedic Terrance Campbell in a Type VI four-wheel.-drive engine.

When fire conditions locally permit them to do so, Summit County’s three fire departments are eager to send crews to wildfires in other areas. Additionally, the costs of firefighter pay and equipment typically are covered by the state and federal government through standard contracting agreements.

“The knowledge and experience our crews receive on these deployments is invaluable,” said Red, White & Blue Fire Deputy Chief Jay Nelson. “The crew returns with knowledge and skill that can be used in Summit County during a wildfire. Our commitment to the community is to ensure we have adequate resources available locally prior to sending resources on these deployments.”

The wildfire danger in Summit County is moderate but is expected to increase over the coming weeks as summer sets in.

“With our high temperatures, low humidity and winds, our fuels are rapidly drying out, so we need to be vigilant,” said Dan Moroz, code official/public-information officer with Copper Mountain Fire. “It’s time to get on those fire-mitigation projects you’ve been putting off.”

Lake Dillon Fire Chief Dave Parmley and Red, White and Blue Chief Jim Keating added that now is a good time for Summit County residents to put together an emergency evacuation kit to keep in their vehicles that includes clothing, toiletries – including daily medications – and non-perishable food and water for three days. It is a good idea to have copies of important documents, as well, and make sure that your property insurance is up to date and adequate.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of having a plan in case we have a fast-moving wildfire like those we’ve seen recently throughout the state,” Parmley said. “Talk with your family about how to get in touch and reunited with each other in case of an evacuation. Keep copies of irreplaceable photographs and vital documents on the internet cloud or on discs in safe-deposit boxes. And build defensible space of little vegetation around your home to lessen the likelihood of it being lost in a wildfire.”

For more information or to have a courtesy review of your fire plan and defensible space, please call your local fire department.


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