Vail Valley fire agencies host joint training to prepare for wildfire season
EDWARDS — Fighting fire is not a time for learning, and that’s why firefighters from up and down the Vail Valley spent much of May sharpening their skills.
The Joint Training Officers Association provided opportunities for crews from every local agency to work together, regardless of the logo on the engine or the patch on their sleeve.
“The goal of multi-agency training is to foster alignment of interdepartmental operability in terms of personnel, training, equipment, apparatus, and communication,” said Andy Pohlman, Eagle River Fire Protection District Lieutenant said.
Crews from Vail Fire & Emergency Services, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District and Gypsum Fire Protection District worked through scenarios at the old B&B gravel pit along the Eagle River in Edwards. They focused on three basic wildland firefighting skills: fireline construction, mobile attack, and progressive hose lays.
The JTOA formed 10 years ago with the mission to prepare for a large fire event, said Karl Bauer, the chief of the Eagle River Fire Protection District chief.
“Coordination is key, because we will all be responding and working together for any large-scale incident,” Bauer said.
Fire is expensive
Fire danger is low this spring, for now. Agencies around the region are asking residents to mitigate their properties to help protect their homes and families against the risks of wildland fire.
Following 2018’s abysmal snow season, the following fire season was massive across the American West, especially in Colorado. The Lake Christine Fire burned 12,588 near the communities of Basalt and El Jebel. In Southwest Colorado, the 416 and Burro fires burned more than 55,000 acres.
Gore Creek since 2013 has been listed on the state’s list of “impaired waterways.” Several years of work are paying off, but getting off the list has become more difficult.