FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 August 2014
Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer
Office: (970) 262-5209
Summit County fire departments send crews to California wildfires
Copper Mountain Fire, Lake Dillon Fire and Red, White & Blue Fire on Monday each sent firefighting crews to northern California, where a number of wildfires are burning out of control.
Copper Mountain Fire sent Engine Boss Mark Nielsen, Lt. Todd Hebebrand and Charlie Johnson. Lake Dillon sent Engine Boss Dennis Jackson and firefighters Steven Wantuck and Frank Towers. Red, White & Blue sent Engine Boss Jason Kline along with Capt. Herb George and driver/operator Eric Kuhn.
“Any time our firefighters can work alongside others on these big wildfires, they bring back insight, skills and experience that can’t be replicated in training,” said Red, White & Blue Fire Deputy Chief Jay Nelson. “They also make connections with their peers from across the country that are important in firefighting.”
The crews were sent to the Modoc National Forest along the California/Nevada border near Alturas, Calif. They could be deployed for as long as two weeks, and all of their expenses – as well as the overtime costs to fill their spots on duty – are covered by the federal overhead team managing the fires.
“This is invaluable training for our firefighters, and we always like to help out other communities in the West when we are in a position to do so,” said Lake Dillon Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Berino, noting that Summit County’s fire danger uncharacteristically is low right now.
The crews will join several others from western Colorado in heading to the complex of fires burning in northern California.
Local firefighters value “the opportunity to deploy our members to assist other states in need and to bring back pertinent experience to our county,” said Chief Gary Curmode.