Crestone Eagle, April 2006:
Baca fire dept. held citizen fire
Not if, but when . . .
by Ann Silver
More than a few hundred people were missing
from the informative meeting held by the Baca Fire Department
on March 11. Superbly well-organized and even entertaining,
the few hours on a Saturday morning passed quickly. If we
residents think we are prepared to face what promises to be
potentially the most dangerous fire year ever in the Baca,
we had better think beyond mere mitigation of our properties.
Colorado mountain towns that interface with wilderness have
been suppressing fire and growing and “curing”
fuel for decades, Fire Chief Peter May told the thirty residents
who came to this initial class. It is not a matter of if we
will have a major fire, but when.
Here are some of the questions those who think they are prepared
might want to ask themselves:
1. Where is the newest and nearest evacuation route from
the Baca? How will we know when to evacuate?
2. Where should Baca evacuees congregate to allow concerned
family members to find them ?
3. How does one signal busy firefighters that one’s
residence has been evacuated?
4. Who is the most likely person to prevent a serious fire
from ever starting?
5. What are some basic tools one can carry in one’s
vehicle in case one happens to be that person?
6. What should be in the bag one has ready to leave the house
should one need to evacuate?
7. What is duff, and where is it found and what kind is most
prone to burning?
8. What kind of architectural details and yard elements are
most likely to cause you to lose your home due to wind-borne
9. How many fire trucks do we have and what is the ratio to
10. Why do 70% of homes exposed to forest fires burn from
the inside out?
11. What kind of clothing is likely to melt to one’s
body in intense heat?
12. What kind of fire extinguisher works on grease, chemicals,
electrical fires, and campfires?
13. Where is the safest place to stand if one can’t
get out of the area altogether?
14. How much smoke and adrenaline does it take to make one
dim-witted and confused?
Even if you know most of the answers to these questions,
the fact that the last question is in there means we need
to be super-grounded in wildfire basics. I plan to attend
another class the next time it is offered in order to rehearse
Our generous, experienced, and deeply concerned firefighters
will be repeating this class in the near future. Find out
when and attend. This is not just romance and heroics for
the young and fit, but life and death information for every
resident. When it comes to protecting our homes and lives
from a wildfire, “they” can’t do it all;
we must all know as much as we can to respond safely and intelligently
to a serious and unpredictable threat.
Many thanks to the competent, well-trained men and women
of our fire fighting community who are willing to educate
us to survive the biggest “downside” to living
in this wonderful place.
to the Eagle!