Area firefighters join Beaver Creek fire crew
By Trudy Balcom
RAWLINS — Three men from Carbon County joined the 231 men and women working on the fire crew for the Beaver Creek earlier this week.
According to Rawlins Fire Chief and Carbon County Fire Warden John Rutherford, three local firefighters — Aaron Zent, Ron Brown and Bob Meyer left to assist crews in Colorado with a city brush truck that holds about 450 gallons of water.
Zent is serving as engine boss, and the crew has been assigned to structure protection.
Rutherford said that the crew is experienced with wildfire; Zent is on the staff of the Rawlins Fire Department and Meyer is retired from the Elk Mountain Fire Department.
The crew is serving with Division P on the northeastern edge of the fire, in an area defined as being near the Wyoming state line on the north edge and Independence Mountain on the south side.
The fire is now approaching Trophy Mountain Ranch, a private elk-hunting destination near Cowdry, Colo. So far, no permanent structures have been lost to the fire, except for three outbuildings, fire officials said.
According to a press release issued by Beaver Creek Fire Incident Management on midday Wednesday, “engines continue to patrol the 600 Road, Parson’s Draw and further out from the fire edge into Wyoming looking for opportunities to engage the fire where we have a high probability of success. They are also identifying needs for structure protection.”
The fire had grown to 20,107 acres Wednesday, with a red flag warning issued for high winds and low humidity. The fire is considered only five percent contained.
The fire is also considered too dangerous to fight within the forests of beetle-killed trees. Instead, firefighters are working to contain the fire wherever it moves out of heavy timber, and to locate “opportunities for the construction of a fire line to contain the fire where it is safe for firefighters…” the press release stated.
So far, the edge of the fire that extends into Wyoming has been contained to about 307 acres by the terrain — a sagebrush meadow that reaches east. To the northwest of that meadow, lies a portion of the Medicine Bow National Forest that is also characterized by a beetle-kill forest.
“If we get a wind shift to the east, it could get exciting,” Rutherford said.