Press release: Summit firefighters battling California wildfires

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13 August 2015


Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209


Summit firefighters battling California wildfires

Both Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue and Red, White & Blue Fire this week have sent crews of firefighters to California to assist with the efforts at battling dozens of major wildfires.

“While the wildfire danger in Summit County remains uncharacteristically low for this time of year, we want to take advantage of the opportunity to team with other firefighters throughout the West and give our crews real-world experience and training that can’t be replicated,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino.

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue dispatched an engine crew to join nearly 600 firefighters battling the Gasquet Complex, six fires being overseen by a single incident-management team that is burning nearly 3,000 acres in the Six Rivers National Forest near Gasquet, Calif.

The Lake Dillon crew consists of engine boss Dennis Jackson and firefighter Bob Corcoran — both LDFR engineers — as well as firefighter Case Byl.

Additionally, LDFR firefighter Dan Ross, who has significant experience battling wildfires, is serving as a crew boss in charge of a team of 20 federally contracted firefighters in battling the 7,939-acre Rough Fire in the Sierra National Forest near Hume, Calif.

Red, White & Blue Fire, meanwhile, sent Capt. Keith McMillan – serving as engine boss — and firefighter/paramedic Brent Bonenberger and firefighter Lacey Theiler to the 28,736-acre Fork Complex Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Mount Diablo, Calif. Nearly 2,400 firefighters are on scene.

“Our firefighters are excited to be deployed, and we know from other fires in recent years that they bring back invaluable information from the experiences on the fire line and share them with our crews,” said Red, White & Blue Fire Chief Jim Keating.

He noted that this is Theiler’s first deployment to a wildfire.

The assignments can last as long as 14 days before mandatory time off.

The federal government reimburses the fire departments for the salaries, meals and lodging en route for the firefighters (and feeds them in the fire camps), as well as offers standard rates for mileage and use of the wildland fire engines. Additionally, the federal incident managers cover the “backfill” pay of firefighters back home who are working overtime shifts to cover for the deployed teams.

“It’s important to know that we send teams out to these fires only when conditions here allow and when we have adequate resources to respond to any emergencies locally,” Berino said. “This also serves us well in building relationships with other fire crews and incident managers who may someday be asked to help us. Those connections are important and help us all be part of one big team.”



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