On Saturday morning, March 12th, the Guffey-based SPCFPD battled the first wildfire of the 2011 season on Doe Valley Road, east of Guffey off CR 71.
The blaze scorched about 18 acres of grass, brush and some timber and at one point, threatened the residence and a neighbor’s residence. Because of the fire department’s quick response time (approximately 13 minutes) both structures were saved and the fire was quickly contained and mopped up.
The SPCFPD responded with nine firefighters, three type-6 brush trucks, one 4,000 gallon water tender and an ambulance, according to Incident Commander Deputy Chief Don Felton.
Mutual aid was requested by Felton from the 4-Mile Fire Department and they responded with five firefighters, one type-6 brush truck and a 1,000 gallon water tender, said Felton, who wants to thank 4-Mile for their help.
The homeowner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she was burning thistles right by her pond when the wind came up and some sparks got behind her and “it took off from there.” The first firefighter on-scene, Kent Wierman, said the flames were about 4 feet high and burning in the grass when he got there and taking off.
The homeowner had a burn permit and had called Fairplay about the burn, said Felton. When the homeowner started burning, it wasn’t windy, she said.
Fortunately, the property has some good, natural defenses, like the three frozen ponds and stream and many rock outcroppings. Still, the fire crossed the earthen dam and was burning on the other side of the stream.
The homeowner had done some pretty good fire mitigation with tree branches trimmed up the tree trunks and a good, cleared space around the house. “That’s important”, said Felton.
Just a reminder from Felton, when a homeowner or property owner in the district wants to burn something, they need to get a FREE burn permit from the Guffey Fire Department ahead of time. Then, on the day of your burn, call Fairplay dispatch to notify them of the burn. Their phone number will be printed on the burn permit that you receive from the fire department, said Felton. It is important to clear around your burn area and to have water immediately accessible. If your water source is a garden hose, have it turned on, said Felton.
Note: Writer Flip Boettcher is on the board of directors of the Southern Park County Fire Protection District.