Fire board president presents to Craig City Council
In other action ...
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:
• Discussed lease negotiations with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265.
• Heard a month-end financial report for March.
• Heard water and wastewater monthly reports.
• Heard a Norman Rockwell town challenge and window art presentation from Melody Villard, Moffat County Tourism Association director.
Public reaction has been mixed to the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board's plan to build a live fire training tower near The Memorial Hospital in Craig.
To address public concerns about staging fires near the hospital, fire officials have embarked on a public campaign to discuss details of the structure and how the department plans to use the facility.
On Tuesday night, those efforts continued as Craig City Council members were presented with details of the proposed live fire training tower, which is slated for construction this summer.
Byron Willems, a city council member and president of the fire board, led Tuesday night’s discussion, which was well-attended by Craig residents.
Considering smoke is one of the major concerns with the project, Willems began the presentation discussing what type of fuels will be used in the fire department’s training.
According to the presentation, and Environmental Protection Agency regulations, Willems said the fire department can’t use anything except Class A combustibles such as straw, hay, and wood pallets.
“Not only are Class A combustibles more than efficient for training purposes, they also have predictable burn properties making them ideal for safe training,” Willems said.
“In addition, they produce a white smoke that dissipates more quickly than the thick black smoke typically found with a structure fire.”
Willems argued that the quick dissipating properties of smoke produced from Class A combustibles coupled with the tower’s location more than 740 feet south of TMH would ensure training would not have any adverse effects on the hospital or patients.
“As everyone knows, the wind rarely ever blows north in Craig, so the smoke should never head toward the hospital in the first place,” Willems said.
“But just to be sure, we will be using the hospital’s real time weather system prior to and during all live fire trainings.”
A compilation of that data during the course of the last 120 days showed a dominant north wind only occurred eight times.
But, that explanation wasn’t good enough for one audience member.
“There’s all these conversations about how the center will affect the hospital, but what about the rest of us?”
Michael McCleery asked. “All of Craig’s growth is taking place to the west, how will the smoke affect those of us who live out there?”
Willems discussed the fire department’s future plans in his answer.
“This is just phase one of a long-term project,” Willems said.
“Craig’s growth is going to be to the west and when it’s appropriate this will also serve as the site for Station 2.
“Whereever you find live fire training centers, you also find fire stations within 50 feet.
If we believed this was a legitimate concern to the health and well-being of the overall community, we wouldn’t want to build a station to house firefighters that close…it wouldn’t make sense.”