By Russ Campbell
For a year now, an assortment of Evergreen residents, full of anger yet devoid of any real understanding of fire training needs and projects, have carried on a campaign against our fire district board and our seasoned firefighters.
If truth be told, and it should be told, the underlying objective in the campaign has been a shutdown or delay in completing Bergen Park’s Station 2 and the brilliant voter-approved master plan of 2003. However, the immediate pretext has been the totally trumped-up fear factor of the “burn component” of the new training structure, alleging uncontrolled black smoke would rage through nearby neighborhoods and, worse, constitute a clear and present fire threat to housing and lives nearby.
Yet once a month burning will be conducted in fireproof rooms with fire hoses at the ready capable of 350 to 600 gallons per minute, manned by firefighters with two safety officers presiding. The material to be burned would be a wood product designed to generate very little smoke. No diesel or any other combustible that generates black smoke will ever be used.
And to create a lack of visibilty when the firefighters enter a burning building, the fire department will be using, most likely, theatrical smoke typically used at a child’s Halloween party, or on stage at a school play.
Other allegations against the training building persist from a group of residents misled by those leading the campaign.
Now, in a recent burst of civic insanity, the opponents call for a recall of the current fire district board, even though the funding and construction of the training facility are well under way. Pray tell, how could a recall of the board overturn a totally approved public project?
If truth be told, the proposed recall is a spiteful act by those opposed to the project in their year-long campaign. Thus, if the recall election goes forward with up to $200,000 expended in public funds in the opponents’ desperate last stand, why not demand that the election be funded entirely by those in the opposition and not by Evergreen’s taxpayers?
With years in city management — Aspen, Boulder and San Jose, Calif. — I applaud the foresight of our fire district leaders in creating an integrated and modern system to protect residents and property.
Evergreen resident Russ Campbell is a contributor to the Courier’s Opinion page.