Two Craig residents called to California

Firefighters offer support during blaze

Two members of the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit in Craig were recently called away to assist their counterparts fight blazes in southern California.

Scott Wintemute left about two weeks ago to support firefighters through a buying team, which procures more crews, equipment and supplies, said Lynn Barclay a fire mitigation/education specialist in Craig.

The buying team "works with the finance officer to set up contracts and make purchases," Barclay said.

Molly Campbell, a dispatcher locally, also is working with the buying team to set up travel arrangements, hotel stays, meals and work out other purchasing issues.

"We heard that Scott had to call up dispatch to set up 2,000 lunches," Barclay said. "They are working with large groups of people."

The two have been stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Barclay said no actual fire crews from the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit have been called away to California to fight fires.

"I did hear that they called for engines out of Casper," Barclay said.

Barclay said that the local unit had anticipated orders for crews.

"They go to the closest locations first," Barclay said. "They must have been able to fill those orders in closer locations.

According to the Associated Press, fires in southern California swept across more than 743,000 acres, caused more than 20 deaths and destroyed more than 3,570 homes.

Barclay said she had no idea when Wintemute or Campbell would be returning.

"Once you get a fire assignment, you go and you are focused on that assignment," Barclay said.

Barclay said because it is business as usual here, they aren't feeling shorthanded right now.

"And they may get an extension," she said.

Barclay said just because there may be some snow on the ground in northwest Colorado, it doesn't mean the fire season is over.

"We've had unseasonably warm and dry weather up to this point," Barclay said. "People need to remember that. You always need to be careful with fire even when there is a blanket of snow on the ground."

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