Another Fire! Black Hills Fire Fighters Help

Barbara Lawlor
Gilpin County

On Wednesday, June 26, a smoke sighting in the remote area of Dakota Hill in Gilpin County sparked aMountain wild fire crew

nederland fire crew loan from ND gathering of resources worthy of a major wild land fire. The billowing plumes of smoke were easily visible from the Timberline Fire Protection District Station 11, which became the initial command post for the call.
Timberline fire chief Chris Jennings called in mutual aid support and soon the station parking lot was filled with emergency equipment and firefighters. The US Forest Service crews brought in a team of Black Hills, South Dakota firefighters who were on call at the Nederland FS quarters on Ridge Road. Nederland and Black Hawk as well as Central City fire departments were called to stand by as fire officials pored over topography maps trying to figure out access to the growing blaze.
Chief Jennings said that the fire had probably been started by a week-old lightning strike that had smoldered until the temperatures were hot and dry enough to erupt the coals into flames. Jennings sent crews to protect potential fire run areas and called in for Single Engine Air Tankers.
Helicopters with buckets responded to the call for an air attack, setting up their command across from Roy’s Last Shot and then dipping their bucket in Snowline Lake, which took some time because the flight crew had to get permission from the Snowline Homeowner’s Association.
As dark approached, the chopper made a couple of dumps that helped slow down the blaze and the strike team from South Dakota headed up into the forest to set up a perimeter and douse the fire.
All wildland fires are being treated as potential infernos and hard to reach smoke sightings require air attack standbys.
The fire was contained by the teamwork of the choppers and the Black Hills crew. Weeks without moisture at that point created a volatile wildfire situation and fire personnel have been investigating the smoke sightings in a record amount of calls per day.