As Colorado celebrated Independence Day, six wildfires of 1,000 acres or more were challenging fire crews across the state. Personnel from South Metro Fire Rescue were among those working to douse …
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As Colorado celebrated Independence Day, six wildfires of 1,000 acres or more were challenging fire crews across the state.
Personnel from South Metro Fire Rescue were among those working to douse the flames. South Metro recently deployed three crews to battle blazes in Durango, Costilla and Huerfano counties, and Pike National Forest.
One South Metro firefighter was deployed to assist on-hand crews at the 416 fire in Durango, a crew of three was sent to the Spring Fire in southern Colorado and another crew of four was sent to mitigate small fires in the Pike National Forest. The crew at the forest has been there for five weeks to help douse fires before they get too big.
Eric Hurst, public information officer for South Metro, said that while the department has sent several firefighters, he doesn't expect any problem with the daily operation of fighting fires in the district, which encompasses a large swath of Douglas and Arapahoe counties.
“It's kind of a balancing act,” Hurst said. “We're basically at that threshold now where we wouldn't send anything else out.”
Hurst said South Metro keeps reserve firetrucks available in situations like this and some of those are in use now. The crews on deployment will remain at their assignment for a minimum of 14 days at a time. Hurst said the crews will often work 12- to 16-hour days or work overnight if needed.
“There's not a lot of glamour to it, but the great thing is we get to help other communities when they need help,” Hurst said.
On July 4, South Metro personnel at the Spring Fire worked alongside hundreds of other firefighters throughout the day and night in an effort to prevent the spreading of what grew to a more than 100,000-acre fire. The blaze, located in both Costilla and Huerfano counties, was only 5 percent contained as of the morning of July 5. The third largest wildfire in state history was responsible for the destruction of more than 100 homes.
Hurst said metro-area residents should be mindful of possible fire hazards by avoiding the use of things that get hot, cause sparks or an open flame when there is high fire danger. Something as simple as mowing a lawn on a hot, dry day can spark a small fire, he said. For any questions regarding fire safety, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hurst directed residents who want to donate supplies for firefighters and affected families to the American Red Cross, www.redcross.org/local.
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