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Evergreen fire department developing 10-year plan

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Response times to be included in report

By Sandy Barnes

Issues raised during the failed recall election resurfaced at the May 14 meeting of the Evergreen Fire Protection District board. 

During the public comment portion of the meeting, former recall candidate Paul Peil asked for clarification on the material that would be burned at the fire training facility under construction. The facility was a catalyst for the recall effort that began last fall and ended with the defeat of four challengers in the April 23 election.

“We’re going to burn wood to create fire,” said Evergreen Fire Chief Mike Weege. 

Before conducting live burn training at Fire Station 2, weather conditions would be taken into consideration, he added. 

Weege also said that the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission, which approved the project last fall, is fully aware of how the building will be used. The commission members have approved other fire facilities in the county and are aware of how they operate, he said.

Evergreen resident Bob Gottsman also questioned the size of the facility and live burn training that will occur there. 

“Essentially, we all have an awareness of the dangers of fire,” especially after the Lower North Fork Fire last year, said Gottsman. 

“You can’t compare live burn training to the Lower North Fork Fire,” said board member Jeff DeDisse.

“You’re going to vent that building,” Gottsman remarked.

“When we open it up, we hit it with a hose,” said board member David Christensen.

“Is your point that there are still people who don’t understand the fire training facility?” asked Christensen

“It’s a communication problem,” Gottsman said.

Weege said that when the department has its annual fire safety day in the fall, the facility will be open for residents to see. 

“I’ve talked to a lot of people, and they don’t realize that live fire training has been going on,” said board member Valeri Leswing.

Peil also asked when the fire district would have information on response times to fire and emergency calls, a related issue in the recall election.

Weege replied that response times would be formulated as part of the district’s 10-year plan, which is being worked on.

“It takes awhile to develop this,” he said. “We’ll develop our risk assessment after that. The industry standard is to look at the five-year standard,” said Weege.

“There’s not another district this large in the whole state,” said DeDisse. “We have such a huge matrix in this district.”

“I think this is a crucial issue,” said Leswing.

During his report, Weege said that evacuation routes for the five “extreme” fire danger areas of the district have been posted on the Evergreen Fire/Rescue website and that evacuation routes will also be posted on sandwich boards in the community. 

Christensen restated a previous suggestion to mail information to homes in remote areas of the district.

“We’ll target remote people with a mailer,” replied Weege.

The fire board also approved an $8,700 expenditure to complete landscaping around the fire training facility by placing aspen trees on the back of the property, as requested by the county Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Now is a good time to do it,” he said.

In other business, Weege presented Fire Marshal Frank Dearborn a pin commemorating his 15 years of service with Evergreen Fire/Rescue. Dearborn has more than 39 years of experience with fire departments.

 

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.