Northwest Colorado Fire Management crew members work through a leadership exercise Tuesday.

BLM/courtesy

Northwest Colorado Fire Management crew members work through a leadership exercise Tuesday.

BLM prepares for fire season in Moffat County

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Warm weather brings dry days, outdoor recreation and fire season.

That means the Bureau of Land Management Little Snake field office is preparing by training new fire management unit recruits and coordinating resources. The BLM took on five new recruits to train for another dry season.

“The time spent preparing for the coming fire season is imperative for quick and efficient fire management,” acting Fire Management Officer Jim Michels said in a press release. “These refreshers and classes are annual events that keep our firefighting forces current with qualifications and increase their skills whether it’s learning to operate a chain saw or decision making on the fire line.”

The new recruits are going through all the hoops they need to get ready for the season.

"They go through the basic firefighter training, which covers fire behavior, fire weather, reading topographic maps and the use of basic firefighting (equipment) and tools,” said Lynn Barclay, public information officer for the Bureau of Land Management’s Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit. We go over "the basic safety concepts of fire, which include proper use of personal protective equip and maintaining what we call LCES on incidents: lookouts, communication, escape routes and safety zones.”

The 2014 fire season should be an average year for Colorado, but that still means extreme fire possibilities for Moffat County, Barclay said.

“In our area here, even in an average fire season, which is what they’re predicting for Colorado this year, we still have periods of extreme fire danger,” she said.

That’s because Moffat County hosts the perfect weather and vegetation for extreme fire conditions, Barclay said.

Vegetations “tend to be more ready to burn — more volatile than your large timber species. For Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, we just live in an area that tends to be more fire prone,” she said. “We also live in an area with a lot of dry thunderstorms that come through.”

Moffat County residents need to be conscientious, Barclay said.

“As we get further into summer and we get dry, windy weather people just be cognizant: be aware of (their) surrounding when (they’re) recreating (and) when (they’re) camping,” Barclay said. People should “always have water and a shovel with (them). Don’t burn anything on a windy day.”

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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