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Wild fires are the biggest threat to living in the mountains

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ColdSpringsFire_DaveGibson_068From your Timberline Firefighters

By Glenn Levy, Fire Chief

As we sneak into the last week of July, it is my sincerest hope that all of you are enjoying summer in one of the most beautiful places on earth. For your Timberline firefighters, it has already been a really busy summer and we have not yet entered our “official” fire season.

There are many in our community who are convinced that wild fires don’t happen above 8,000 feet. However, as your fire chief, wild fire is the one thing that keeps me up at night for the threat is far greater than many want to believe. It is the single biggest threat to our fire district.

Over the past couple of weeks we have seen significant fire activity in Gilpin and Boulder Counties. We have all been really busy. We only need to look to the Cold Springs fire in Nederland to see how easily and how fast these fires can spread. This same fire shows the importance of our mutual aid agreements and the amazing relationships between local fire agencies. We can all be very proud of the Nederland Fire Department for their great response to this horrible fire, and we are honored to have helped them…as they also routinely help us. Ironically, Timberline was on a wild fire on Highway 119 at Douglas Mountain Road when the Cold Springs fire started, but we were fortunately able to send an engine, a brush truck, and a tender to that fire.

Weather plays an important role in a fires ability to start and spread. The recent rain will not reduce the fire danger we are now experiencing. We have actually had several fires started over the past few days that have been started by lightening from those storms, even though they were accompanied with heavy rain. Our terrain, fuels, and weather do create a narrower opportunity for fires to get a foothold, but when they do, they spread quickly and in many directions.

On behalf of your Timberline firefighters, I am asking everyone to be hyper-fire-aware. Most people have no idea how powerful fire can be or how long fire can burn, even when they think it’s out. It’s actually a pretty sneaky chemical reaction. Please call 911 if you see smoke, have any concerns, or see an unauthorized fire. I cannot stress enough that TIME is the most important factor in any emergency response. We take every call very seriously and front-load these incidents with preventative action. The faster we get there, the more likely we are to control it early and before it gets out of control.

Keeping our community safe is a partnership between all of the emergency services agencies. But the community must also do their part. Please consider addressing your property, mitigating the fuels from around your home, follow the fire restrictions and bans, be ready to evacuate, and call anytime you think there might be a fire.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 303-582-5768 or glevy@timberlinefire.com.You can also join us on Facebook.

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