With Colorado summertime comes the surge in wildfires across the state, which we have already seen in recent months.
We all remember the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012 followed by the Black Forest Fire of 2013 — the most destructive fire in the state’s history. When wildfires pose a hazard to both rural areas and Colorado’s cities and towns, firefighters rush in from around Colorado and other states to save homes and communities.
Having previously served as a wildland strike team leader over five engines and a division group supervisor, I know firsthand what is it like on the ground during a wildfire: visibility is reduced, and firefighters and rescue workers can easily become disoriented. In instances of high winds, the fire line is a fast moving target. It is during these times that public safety’s ability to communicate with each other and the public is vital to saving lives and property.
This opinion article Was written by Chief Christopher P. Riley and appeared in the Greeley Tribune July 17, 2017.
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Chief Christopher P. Riley is a 35-year fire service veteran. Riley previously served as fire chief in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. His years in the fire service include experience in command, emergency and fire/rescue operations, wildland/urban interface and structural firefighting, and emergency medical services.