Home Critical engine Amid unyielding fire danger, Coloradans are on heightened awareness – CBS Denver

Amid unyielding fire danger, Coloradans are on heightened awareness – CBS Denver


LOVELAND, Colorado (CBS4) – Following the historic Cameron Peak and Marshall fires in Colorado, many communities and their fire departments are becoming increasingly aware of dry, windy days. The 2020 Cameron Peak Fire, Colorado’s largest fire in recorded history, was largely fueled by dry conditions and gusty winds.

The 2021 Marshall Fire, the state’s most destructive blaze on record, was also fueled by dry terrain and hurricane-force winds.

(credit: CBS)

Loveland Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Hessler told CBS4 that many people in his community have been sensitized following the fires, as have firefighters tasked with protecting the community.

“I think these incidents have shown what they can look like, how quickly they can happen, which has raised awareness,” Hessler told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “On a day-to-day basis, it’s much more important to pay attention to the weather.”

Colorado’s Front Range has seen strong gusts of wind in recent days, causing power outages and overturning tractor-trailers on highways.

Hessler said he’s noticed an increase in residents calling 911 lately to report relatively minor fires, likely out of fear of a rapid spread on their properties.

“(We’re getting calls) from a planter fire that was here on 4th Street to something bigger. They make a phone call to the department.

The rapid spread of the fire on Colorado’s dry and windy days has caused several agencies to be more prepared for any potential fires.

(credit: CBS)

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office told CBS4 following the Cameron Peak Fire that they have reallocated funds and manpower to ensure resources are on standby for any response in case of fire necessary.

Loveland Fire, on windy days, also doubles its resources for calls involving grass and wildfires. When sent to a grass or forest fire, the service automatically sends two different engines to respond instead of the single engine they would send on most other calls.

“If we can deal with (a fire) when it’s small, rather than when it’s big, the more trucks, the fewer trucks. The biggest (fire), it just requires resources from everywhere like you saw not only with the Marshall (Fire), but also with the Cameron Peak Fire,” Hessler said.

Hessler encouraged community members to pay attention to their surroundings and be sure to report any smoke or fire sightings they do.

“If you see something, say something because we’ve seen from recent fires how quickly they spread and how quickly they do their damage,” Hessler said.