A fire crew last August manages the Kodiak Fire, approximately 25 miles northwest of Maybell.

File photo

A fire crew last August manages the Kodiak Fire, approximately 25 miles northwest of Maybell.

Agencies outline annual operating plan for fighting fire in Moffat County

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— Regional firefighting agencies worked together to update their annual fire operations plan (AOP) for Moffat County.

The plan primarily serves to clarify the resources that different agencies will share, but some of the changes also will boost efficiency for fighting wildland fires and some even could result in cost-saving benefits, said Moffat County Sheriff’s Department fire management officer, Sgt. Todd Wheeler. He presented the new plan to Moffat County commissioners at their Tuesday meeting.

AOPs “provide the framework for how federal, state and local agencies work together,” Tim Wilson, acting Little Snake Bureau of Land Management office field manager, said in a statement. “We update them annually to clarify procedures for dispatch, ordering and mobilizing resources, notifications, aviation, emergency fire funds, to name a few."

The plan details what resources regions can share during mutual aid periods, or the periods of initial attacks on fires, Wheeler said.

“It is a little bit of a cost-saving measure,” he said. It saves money “kind of for all parties: for federal agencies and local agencies. It gives us a few more resources.”

Wheeler shared that one of those resources will be a Type 3 helicopter. This helicopter will be available to Moffat County during the mutual period without any cost to local agencies, he said.

A Type 3 helicopter can haul as many as 150 gallons of water and between four and eight passengers.

“It’s kind of a quick-attack helicopter,” he said.

The updates to the AOP also will help agencies be more proactive in their firefighting, Wheeler said.

“Basically, any federal resources positioned within the Craig dispatch area is considered mutual aid,” he said. “It’ll help reduce our cost in the long run. If there’s a federal engine that’s close by, close to the fire … then they can go ahead and start initial attack on the fire and not wait for one of us to arrive.”

The updates to the AOP further their ability to cooperate efficiently, Wheeler said.

“We still work side by side with all the agencies,” he said.

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

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