Summit County Lifts Fire Restrictions

Summit County Lifts Fire Restrictions

Recent rains have reduced fire danger

Erin Opsahl, Summit County Sheriff’s Office

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Board of Commissioners lifted fire restrictions in Summit County Tuesday afternoon, upon recommendation Tuesday morning by Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons. The Board of County Commissioners had enacted the ban on open fires on July 5, in response to dry conditions earlier in the summer.

Local, state and federal officials participate in weekly regional conference calls to monitor, assess and discuss conditions related to fire danger throughout the West Slope and to make determinations about appropriate fire restrictions.

“The precipitation and increased humidity from recent monsoon rains in Summit County have raised the fuel-moisture content in most of our vegetation,” Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Chief Jeff Berino said. “This reduces the speed at which a fire would likely spread, and the intensity at which it would burn.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, precipitation across Colorado in early August is forecast to be higher than average.

Despite the lifting of fire restrictions, Summit County urges residents to remain vigilant in preventing wildfires. According to the U.S. Forest Service, about nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans.

  • Never leave a burning fire unattended.
  • Always have at hand a way to extinguish your fire.
  • Thoroughly extinguish your fire when you’re done: Douse coals, stir them and douse them again until they are literally cool to the touch.
  • Do not throw cigarettes on the ground or out of vehicle windows.
  • Keep campfires small and under control.
  • Do not park or idle vehicles in tall, dry grass.
  • Do not allow chains to drag from vehicles or trailers being towed.



Please use this link to view the latest news on the local wildfires.

Press release: Summit fire danger climbing; please leave Fourth of July fireworks to the experts



29 June 2017


Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209


Summit fire danger climbing; please leave Fourth of July fireworks to the experts 

Summit County’s wildfire danger is creeping back up to high just in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, prompting local officials to remind residents and visitors that fireworks that fly or explode are illegal – so please leave the show to the experts.

Individuals caught shooting off forbidden fireworks can be subjected to fines or even time in jail.

“Summit County law-enforcement agencies will be responding quickly to all fireworks calls,” said Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons. “We ask our community members and visitors to please use only legal fireworks and to use them responsibly. We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy July Fourth weekend.”

More than 30,000 fires are started by fireworks annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and more than 9,000 people arrive in hospital emergency rooms as a result of fireworks-related accidents — many with severe injuries. The message is clear from Summit County’s fire departments: The use of fireworks is dangerous and should be left to the professionals.

Please note that fireworks of any kind are strictly prohibited within the White River National Forest.

Although some fireworks such as sparklers are sold in area stores and permissible for use by private citizens on their property, they still can burn at 1,200 degrees and should be used only under the strict supervision of adults.

There are many public fireworks displays throughout Summit County on and around the Fourth of July, including:

“By leaving fireworks shows to the professionals, the risk of injuries and unintended fires is virtually eliminated,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino. “Working together, our communities will remain safer for all during this Independence Day celebration.”

Campsite safety tips:

  • Clear campfire site down to bare soil.
  • Circle the pit with rocks.
  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, dry grass, and leaves.
  • Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • When putting out a campfire, drown the fire, stir it, and drown it again.
  • Be careful with gas lanterns, barbeques, gas stoves, and anything that can be a source of ignition for a wildfire.

Barbecue safety tips:

  • Keep grills away from combustibles, including the outside of your house, balcony or garage.
  • Check your gas grill hose integrity and hose connections to make sure gas is not leaking from your gas grill. Apply soapy water to hoses and connections to reveal any leaks.
  • Enforce a “kid-free zone” of 36 inches around the grill. Also keep your pets from underfoot.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

For more information regarding fireworks and any general safety concern, please contact Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue at (970) 262-5100.



LDFR annual awards ceremony

We had a wonderful time celebrating achievements, both within the department and by members of the public, at our annual LDFR awards ceremony on April 22. Check out these photos of some of the smiles and recognitions!

Capt. Kim McDonald, right, accepts his commemorative ax for 15 years of service from Assistant Chief Steve Skulski, as Chief Jeff Berino looks on.

LDFR Engineer Bob Corcoran, left, receives his commemorative helmet and a big pat on the back for 20 years of service to LDFR from Lt. Casey Human.

Assistant Chief Steve Skulski, left, is congratulated by Chief Jeff Berino for 35 years of service to Lake Dillon Fire (and its predecessors). Thirty-five years!

LDFR Fire Corps volunteer Kim Bailey, left, is congratulated by Assistant Chief Bruce Farrell for 40 years of service, starting from when he was a volunteer firefighter. Forty years!!

Jerry “Doc” Peterson is congratulated by Assistant Chief Bruce Farrell for serving — get this — 55 years with Lake Dillon Fire and its predecessors! Fifty-five years! Doc was instrumental in getting the first ambulance to this community, and instrumental in establishing the precursor Dillon Fire Department. He has so many great tales to tell — things like walking in front of the ambulance in a blizzard as it carefully navigated Loveland Pass (the only way out of the county) on a run down to a Denver hospital … or how they sometimes had to push-start the original old fire engine, and sometimes, when they got down to the bottom of the hill at Lake Dillon Drive, it still hadn’t started. What a legend!

Sarah Thorsteinson, executive director of the Summit Association of Realtors, accepts a Citizen’s Award from Chief Jeff Berino. Under her direction, this organization has promoted wildfire safety and preparation through annual mailers sent to every property owner in the county, and she has been a wonderful advocate for our efforts.

Dr. John and Maggie Hillman receive a Citizen’s Award from Chief Jeff Berino. The unofficial ambassadors of the Lower Blue River valley north of Silverthorne, the Hillmans are tireless advocates for improving public safety, encouraging neighbors to join the fire district and clear defensible space for wildfire, and improve telecommunications. They’re really wonderful!

LDFR Finance Manager Mary Hartley was surprised and delighted with receiving the Chief’s Award from Chief Jeff Berino — a completely deserved honor!

LDFR Capt. Brian Schenking, left, receives the Leadership Award from Chief Jeff Berino for his efforts at overseeing the department’s efforts to become fully accredited — a gargantuan task.

LDFR Human Resources Manager Matt Scheer, left, receives the Member of the Year Award from Chief Jeff Berino. Matt puts the “human” in “human resources.”

LDFR Engineer Ted Salthouse, left, receives the Firefighter of the Year Award from Chief Jeff Berino. Ted has been described as the “golden retriever of firefighters,” meaning that he never seems to have a bad day. Seriously — dude is always smiling.

A bunch of brass! From left: High Country Training Center Division Chief Don Koogle, LDFR Assistant Chief for Operations Joe Hegenderfer, Assistant Chief for Fire Prevention/Fire Marshal Steve Skulski, Chief Jeff Berino, Assistant Chief for Support Services Bruce Farrell and Battalion Chief Kelly Wagner.

Press release: Lake Dillon Fire honors citizens, employees at annual awards ceremony



Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209


Lake Dillon Fire honors citizens, employees at annual awards ceremony

Lake Dillon Fire honored five citizens – including Flight for Life nurse Dave Repsher – and numerous firefighters and staff members at its annual awards ceremony in Dillon on Saturday.

Repsher, who survived the July 3, 2015, crash of the Flight for Life helicopter and then spent the next year battling for his life as he recovered from severe burns, was honored by Lake Dillon firefighter/paramedic Paul Camillo for his indomitable will as well as for inspiring fellow first responders.

Additionally, community figures honored by Lake Dillon Fire were:

  • Sarah Thorsteinson, the executive director of the Summit Association of Realtors for that organization’s annual efforts to promote wildfire preparedness among local property owners;
  • John Hillman and Maggie Hillman for their tireless efforts to encourage residents of the Lower Blue River Valley to join the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District and to support public safety;
  • Kelly Foote, owner of Foote’s Rest sweet shop, for his repeated and selfless contributions to Lake Dillon Fire;
  • And Tim Johnston, owner of Mountain Access Garage Door, for continually making Lake Dillon Fire a priority, even after hours.

The annual awards ceremony, held at the Dillon Community Church Fellowship Hall, also recognized many employees of the department for their achievements, including:

  • New hires firefighter/paramedic Jim Levi, IT technician Colby Poole and firefighter/paramedic Mike Williams
  • Promotions of Donna Trainer from office assistant to administrative technician and Frank Towers from firefighter/technician to engineer
  • Five years of service: Fire Corps volunteer Kelly Sheehan
  • Ten years of service: Lt. Casey Humann, Engineer Dennis Jackson and Human Resources Manager Matt Scheer
  • Fifteen years of service: Capt. Kim McDonald and Assistant Chief Joe Hegenderfer
  • Twenty years of service: Battalion Chief Travis Davis and Engineer Bob Corcoran
  • Thirty-five years of service: Assistant Chief Steve Skulski
  • Fourty years of service: Fire Corps volunteer (and former volunteer firefighter) Kim Bailey
  • Fifty-five years of service: Fire Corps volunteer (and former volunteer firefighter) Doc Peterson
  • College degrees: Capt. John Wilkerson, Firefighter Shannan Stensvad and Capt. Brian Schenking

Finally, Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino honored Finance Manager Mary Hartley and Fire Corps volunteer Maggie Cox with the Chief’s Award; Capt. Brian Schenking received the Leadership Award; Human Resources Manager Matt Scheer received the Member of the Year Award; and Engineer Ted Salthouse received the Firefighter of the Year Award.

“We look forward every year to honoring our own employees for their exemplary work and are pleased to share this occasion with so many deserving members of our community who contribute to public safety and help make this such a wonderful place to be,” Berino said. “It is truly an honor for us to serve the residents and visitors of the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District.”


Change your clocks, change your batteries!

Change your clocks, change your batteries

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue wants to remind residents that as they change their clocks to Daylight Savings Time this weekend, don’t forget to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors.

“Smoke detectors are your first line of defense in case a fire occurs in your home,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino. “They have been proven time and again to save lives, and now is the time to ensure they are working properly. The biennial changing of the clocks is a great ‘string around your finger’ to replace the batteries.”

The annual return to Daylight Savings Time requires changing clocks ahead one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Residents and rental-property owners also should replace the batteries in carbon-monoxide detectors and ensure they are working properly, too.

And property owners should make sure that all external heating vents and exterior gas meters also are kept clear of snow to avoid problems.

In addition to changing your smoke alarm batteries this weekend, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends following these simple steps to protect your life, your loved ones, and your home:


  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries.
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button.
  • Replace the entire alarm if it’s more than 10 years old or doesn’t work properly when tested.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Interconnected alarms are available at most stores that sell smoke alarms.
  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  • Finally, prepare and practice an escape plan so that you and your loved ones can get out of your home safely should there be a fire. Plan to meet in a place a safe distance from the fire and where first responders can easily see you.

Press release: Lake Dillon Fire takes delivery of new tactical water tender


8 March 2017

Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209


Lake Dillon Fire takes delivery of new tactical water tender

Lake Dillon Fire took delivery today of a new tactical water tender that will help combat wildfires, structure fires and vehicle fires – particularly in parts of the district without hydrants.

With a 3,000-gallon tank, a 750 gallon-per-minute pump and a portable pump and rubber-sided swimming pool-like “drop tank” that can be filled and left as a water supply for firefighters, the 2017 Rosenbauer tender will serve as an important addition to the LDFR tool box.

“This tender is perfect for wildfires in our wildland-urban interface – where we have homes nestled in the woods – and for responding to incidents such as truck fires on Interstate 70, where there is no ready water supply,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino.

The new tender, which cost $310,000, replaces a 30-year-old Pierce Arrow tender that Lake Dillon Fire sold to the fire department in Terry, Mont.

Lake Dillon Fire personnel conducted pump and performance tests on the tender today and will be outfitting it with equipment and tools and expect to put it in service within the next two weeks.

Among other benefits, the additional pump capacity provided by the tender will garner points from the Insurance Services Office, which establishes ratings for property taxes.


LDFPD 2016 Year-End Report

The Lake Dillon Fire Protection District 2016 Year-End Report is here! LDFPD 2016 Year-End Report

Press release: Lake Dillon Fire, local law enforcement seek information on two vehicle arson fires

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2 February 2017


Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209


Lake Dillon Fire, local law enforcement seek information on two vehicle arson fires

Investigators with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, the Frisco Police Department, education results by state and the Silverthorne Police Department are seeking additional information on two vehicle arson fires set on the night of Jan. 30-31.

The fires, intentionally set a short time apart from each other, damaged a car parked at 1127 9000 Divide Road in Frisco and destroyed a van parked at 171 W. Ninth St., in Silverthorne.

“Arson is a very serious crime that endangers firefighters and the public alike and costs each of us in insurance premiums and firefighting and investigation costs. This is a crime against all of us,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call Lake Dillon Fire Investigator Kim McDonald at (970) 262-5203; or the Frisco Police Department at (970) 668-3579; or the Silverthorne Police Department at (970) 262-7320. Additionally, tips may be provided to
the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Arson Hotline at 1-877-89-ARSON.

Additionally, local law-enforcement agencies encourage drivers to lock their vehicles when parked.



Press release: Winter survival tips from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue



10 January 2017


Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209


Winter survival tips from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue

With this week’s heavy snowfall, the crews at Lake Dillon Fire would like to offer some reminders about how best to cope, stay safe and survive.

  • Test your smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors once a month, especially if you heat your home with a gas furnace or a stove that burns wood or pellets.
  • Maintain a three-foot diameter around space heaters that is cleared of all combustible materials, including drapes and furniture.
  • Make sure that your chimney has been cleaned by a certified chimney sweep annually.
  • Help us help you by digging out fire hydrants in your neighborhood.
  • Similarly, dig out your gas hydrants so that they are not buried in the snow, where dangerous accumulations of fumes can build up.
  • Use caution underneath building eaves, especially those on which snow cornices have developed or those with metal roofs, since “roof avalanches” are a distinct danger.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, bonded contractor to remove heavy snow accumulation from your roof, and do not allow snow to build up enough to threaten collapse. Also, ensure that roof ventilation pipes are kept clear of snow.
  • Tires should be rated for mud and snow at the least, and motorists should consider studded snow tires for winter driving. Check your vehicle’s anti-freeze and wiper fluid (buy the brands that don’t freeze), as well as all other fluid levels in the vehicle. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. And check that your vehicle’s battery has adequate charge.
  • Check the weather forecast and highway conditions before traveling, and do not travel in a storm if it is not necessary. Be particularly cautious on wet and slushy roads. Also, recognize that with snow plows leaving behind high berms of snow, it may not be easy to see traffic at intersections. Ease out cautiously until you clearly can view the lanes.
  • Always wear your seat belts. Maintain safe driving speeds and appropriate following distances for conditions. Leave extra room for stopping. Use your turn signals. Do not make any abrupt changes in directions or speeds. Drive predictably.
  • Slow down and move over whenever encountering emergency vehicles. This is the law, and the consequences of not doing so are severe – not just the risk of getting an expensive citation, but also by endangering firefighters, law-enforcement officers, paramedics and tow-truck drivers.
  • Avoid times of heavy traffic on the roadways whenever possible. The local grocery stores are far less crowded before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
  • Equip your car with a winter-survival kit that includes tire chains, kitty litter (for traction), a snow shovel, a tow strap, jumper cables, road flares and extra winter clothing or a sleeping bag in case you slide off the road. Also, keep a mobile-phone charger in the vehicle. If you are stranded in your vehicle, try to signal others with your emergency flashers and horn. Run the engine only 10 minutes out of every 30 to keep warm inside while conserving fuel. Make sure that the tailpipe is not blocked by snow.
  • Use traction devices such as YakTrax for your shoes. Slips and falls are among the leading causes of injuries to people of all ages in Summit County at this time of year.
  • When moving large amounts of snow, use a smaller shovel to avoid lifting heavy loads.

“Winter can be the best time to be in Summit County, but it’s often challenging,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Jeff Berino. “We would encourage everyone to consider safety first and foremost during what is shaping up to be a fantastic year for snow.”