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Evergreen Fire/Rescue braces for another wildfire season

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Dry weather a concern

By Stephanie DeCamp

With wildfire season looming and recent foothills weather relatively dry, Evergreen Fire/Rescue is preparing for what could be another difficult fire season. 

“The fire the other day, in Golden Gate Canyon, went from a house fire to a forest fire pretty quickly,” said Doug Saba, a spokesman for Evergreen Fire/Rescue. “… If this pace keeps up, and moisture stays down, we’re looking at a record year for wildfires again.”

During the past two years wildfire season began in March, Saba said, and last year’s Bluebell Fire, a blaze north of Brook Forest Drive in Evergreen that spurred evacuations, was in May.

“We’re still dry,” Saba said. “There’s not much snow, and a lot of the grounds are nice and brown … and with the high winds this year, it’s amazing. Hopefully we just get some more moisture.” 

EFR has had 18 fire calls in the last month, seven for structure fires that started in a kitchen or a chimney, Saba said. 

Three of those fires have come in the last two weeks, Fire Chief Mike Weege said.

“This last fire at Lodgepole, and the one by our station, the people were notified by their smoke alarms to get out of their house,” Saba said. “You can’t emphasize the need for detectors too much. And early notification to us is equally as important — as soon as you think you smell smoke or see or hear something, the sooner you call us the better. … 

“We don’t charge for coming out to a 911 call. When there’s no hazard and we leave your house, there's no charge. Just call 911 and let us come out. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and have us investigate it than not.” 

For more fire-safety and evacuation information, visit evergreenfirerescue.com or call the fire district at 303-674-3145.

Contact Stephanie DeCamp at Stephanie@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1043. Check CanyonCourier.com for updates and breaking news.

Two hazards to watch for

Two new fire hazards have recently come to the attention of Evergreen Fire/Rescue, spokesman Doug Saba said:

• 9-volt batteries — When changing out batteries in smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, wrap the spent 9-volt battery in electrical tape. There have been cases of 9-volt batteries touching metal in trash and creating a spark, Saba said.

• Chicken coops — The rise in popularity of chicken coops has also created a rise in coop fires. Among Evergreen, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, five chicken-coop fires have been reported in the last month, Saba said. To avoid fire hazards, coop owners should:

  • ●Place heat lamps away from flammable objects.
  • ●Check extension cords for frays.
  • ●Never staple cords to the wall or ground.
  • ●Use the minimum number of lamps to keep temperatures at a moderate level.