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Norwood Firefighters are Very Busy!
By John Metzger
How do they get it all done?
NFPD Wildland Captain Mark Garcia and contract firefighter Kyle Koenig no sooner got back from a two-week tour-of-duty on the Pine Gulch Fire, the biggest in Colorado history, then off Mark motors to Buffalo, NY to pick up the District’s brand-spanking-new Dodge 2500 chase truck. The factory-fresh ride made it back across the country, and got its Norwood decals applied just in time to get baptized by fire last Wednesday evening, helping to quickly dispatch a lightning strike flare-up on Deer Mesa.
Along comes Thursday, and Garcia is back on the road with the new wildland support vehicle, Norwood’s Engine 7 brush truck, and two contract firefighters to the East Fork Fire in southeastern Colorado near Trinidad. This assignment is part of a State Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) Task Force, and a supporting example of NFPD’s five-year plan to develop the district into a regional wildland support and strategic command center.
With one lightning strike, there are often two, and that same day Norfire was called out again on another remote wildland smoke report – typically, 911 calls that are just as likely dust or imagination. But this one was real.
After smoldering for a day, some low brush ignited in the Gurley Lake subdivision northeast of the lake on private land. It quickly spread to oak scrub, juniper and to a ponderosa pine or two before Forest Service Captain Mike Shultz was first to arrive and attack. Two Norwood engines joined the USFS crew, and a total of nine firefighters extinguished the spreading flames, holding them to about 200×100 feet from dangerous expansion.
Another day, another fire. Or two, or three. All in a few day’s work, and a few more days in the life of a busy, rural fire department serving our district’s growing need for mission-critical public safety infrastructure. Norwood’s expansion strategy is well supported with shared resources and great partners like the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management fire crews, spread far and wide across our vast and remote corner of southwestern Colorado.