Thank you, firefighting team

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By Robin Young | PREVIEW Columnist

Thank you, firefighters!

And when I say firefighters, I mean the entire team that goes into making the fire fight happen. If you went by the fairgrounds last week, you saw the grounds filled with trucks, semis, tents, trailers, equipment and people that work into the big picture of fighting the fire. 

On May 19, a Type 2 Incident Management Team was deployed to the Archuleta County Fairgrounds to set up its self-contained mini city that provides all the resources and amenities to help the firefighters fight the Plumtaw fire. Most of the team members came from the western states including California, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and more, and some came from as far as Virginia and Alaska. 

The team officers are made up of the incident command, public information, safety, liaison, operations, planning, logistics and finance, and all the support staff that they bring in. They not only come from all over, but they are also different government agencies and private contractors that make up the team. 

If you are interested in learning more about incident command systems and the team, I would encourage you to go on the FEMA.gov website to learn more.

Last week, a small group of officials were invited (I got to tag along) to walk around the fairgrounds with Mike LaFrentz from the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming to see the different services and support that provide the resources needed to support the incident. Services include communications, medical and food. Support are the underlying needs of the incident such as supplies, providing facilities and ground support. 

We visited the food facility first. Three semis and 32 employees made up the kitchen and staff to pump out six meals per minute. That is breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they provide all the in-between snacks on and off the fire line. They fed us some tasty peach cobbler and a fruity salad, and some went back for seconds. 

We walked over to see the shower units next — two long trailers that provided hot showers to all the firefighters and the rest of the mini-city residents. The contractor who brought in the bathrooms (and there were plenty of those to go around) also brought in the hand-washing stations that were strategically placed around. 

We saw the communications trailer where the Starlink satellite had them connected to the entire team. Walking through the cache of ground support, they had pallets of hoses for the engines, pumps, hand tools, lights, office supplies, first aid supplies, bottled water, toiletries and so much more. Anything that they needed, they could get. 

Mike showed us the incident command post (ICP) meeting rooms (OK, yurts) that were set up just outside the exhibit hall where different meetings could take place. Inside the exhibit hall is where the heartbeat of the ICP was set up. This is where the incident management team officers were stationed so they could provide the functions necessary to effectively manage the incident. 

We are so grateful for all the people who make up the firefighting team. Thank you to each and every one of you who helped save homes and land in Archuleta County. We hope you don’t have to come back unless you want to. 

Shredding event

The shredding event has been canceled until further notice. Due to new ownership of the shredding company, we can no longer offer our biannual shredding event. We used this service, too, so we understand the inconvenience. We will work on bringing another shredding event to Archuleta County. Thank you for your past participation.

Volunteers needed

Archuleta County 4-H needs volunteers. We are looking for short term commitment for superintendents at the county fair. Please contact our office at (970) 264-5931 or contact the 4-H Coordinator Becky Jacobson at rjacobson@archuletacounty.org. 

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered every other month (February, April, June, August, October and December) from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid, and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at (970) 264-5931 to register.

Visit online

Visit us on the Web at https://archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/ or like us on Facebook and get more information: https://www.facebook.com/CSUARCHCTY and https://www.facebook.com/ArchuletaCounty4H.