Local firefighters battle western wildfires

By Phyllis Zorn
Peabody Gazette Bulletin – August 16, 2018

Marion County firefighters are among those fighting wildfires in western states.

Lincolnville Fire Chief Les Kaiser is spending a few days at home after helping fight two Colorado wildfires.

“On the first fire, the Lake Christine fire at Basalt, Colorado, I was an equipment manager trainee working with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team,” Kaiser said. “I inspected vehicles for serviceability, tracked the vehicles on a spreadsheet, and transported supplies to the fire line when needed.”

After 12 days at the Lake Christine fire, he transferred to a wildfire at Cache Creek in Parachute County.

In addition, he prioritized missions such as hauling supplies, picking up personnel at the airport, moving and hauling things around the base camp, and making emergency medical runs to the local hospital.

Kaiser said both fires were in rough areas and burned steady, with the fire at Lake Christine making good advances from time to time.

“It was interesting,” Kaiser said. “It was a learning experience, I’ll tell you. You learn something every time you go out. It’s a different terrain and a different way of fighting fires.”

Because of the terrain, helicopters helped fight both fires along with ground crews.

“It’s a whole different world,” Kaiser said. “It’s the same, but it’s different.”

Kaiser said firefighters wanting to participate put their names on a roster, and those with needed skills are contacted. Selected firefighters work 14 days and can be extended another week, then must have two days off before being called out again.

Kaiser will be back on the roster Monday.

Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner fought a wildfire at Medicine Bow National Forest, south of Laramie, Wyoming. He then returned home for a week after it was under control before being deployed again, currently to a fire in Oregon.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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