HCC fire science instructor, students help resident clean up burned trees after fire

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – March 30, 2017

Photo by Travis Morisse. Click on photo to view full-size.

Cindy Stohr’s home north of Hutchinson was spared when wildfires tore through the area at the beginning of March.

“Like a lot of homeowners, I was very lucky,” she said.

But the trees on her property weren’t so fortunate.

A multitude of trees in her yard and lining the private lane to her house burned. The dead trees were both an eyesore and a safety hazard.

Cleaning all of that up would have been an overwhelming task for Stohr, so she was thrilled when a coworker’s husband, Jamie Copple, offered help clearing out the burned trees.

Copple isn’t just some guy with a chainsaw. He is retired from a 36-year career with the U.S. Forest Service, all of it in fire work. Now Copple is a part-time instructor in Hutchinson Community College’s fire science program, teaching wildland fire and wildland chainsaw classes.

He and two HCC fire science students – Dakota Isaacson and David Dukart – spent two Thursdays cutting down and cutting up trees.

“I wanted to get them out there and get them some more saw time,” Copple said.

He estimated the days were about eight hours each and said that time was enough to finish all of the cutting needed on Stohr’s property.

“With three guys and three chainsaws, we got a lot done in two days,” Copple said.

Stohr said she and a neighbor are burning the logs in a pit dug specifically for that purpose.

“The pile that was over there to burn was unreal,” she said. “I wish I’d gotten a photo of it.”

Stohr said the biggest need she has seen after the fires is manpower. People have been very willing to donate money and supplies to families affected by the fire, but fewer people are able to help with cleanup.

Copple said that is a normal thing with wildfires. People are always charitable and giving, but manpower is what is needed most.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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