Gearing up for the season ahead
by Brian Manning
STARKVILLE — A two-day training class in wildland firefighting was held at the Fisher Peak Fire House in Starkville, CO (just south of Trinidad). Eighteen firefighters were first time students and several others were taking refresher training. This training is extremely important for fighters to fight these fires safely.
The instructors were Lloyd Holliman, Fire Chief of the Stonewall Fire Department, and Clarence CK Morey, former Colorado Forest Service employee. Both are certified instructors with many years of experience in fighting wildfires and teaching. They were very professional and engaged the students to keep them involved.
The training was comprehensive and consisted of fire behavior, strategy, communications, management, and many other important topics. They also talked past fires that were used as lessons for future fires and how to learn from them and prevent loss of life in fires.
The importance of safety was stressed, especially the need to have more than one escape route, and to establish safety zones in case the fire overcomes firefighters since the fire can shift without warning. Also discussed was the use of emergency shelters as a last resort.
The students were from several fire departments in Las Animas and Huerfano Counties and are all dedicated volunteers who were giving up their weekend for our benefit. This training will help them fight fires more efficiently and safely and it is reassuring to know that these volunteers are ready and trained to protect us.