Fire crews in GJ await deployment around West

A firefighting mobilization station is taking shape on the grounds of Grand Mesa Middle School.

As many as 400 firefighters will be based on the school grounds, awaiting orders to combat blazes in Colorado and Wyoming, as well as Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

It seems likely that the firefighters who will settle in at the middle school won’t do so for long.

With hot weather and storms packing little moisture punch, but lots of static electricity, “It’s a good combination for lightning starts,” said Emily Veale, public information officer for the Central Oregon Incident Management Team.

The Oregon team is setting up the mobilization camp and will hand it over to Colorado officials, then go into the firefighting rotation.

Firefighters don’t expect to be ensconced for long at the school.

Local, state and federal agencies are being prepositioned to respond quickly to a fire in any of the states they cover, Veale said.

Whether they fly or drive to fires depends on the nature of the blaze, its distance and the kinds of equipment they’ll need, Veale said.

“It’s really quick, you have to be fire-ready to go,” Veale said.

The grounds at Grand Mesa Middle are being transformed into a tent city of sorts, with porta-potties lining the property and shaded areas set up for eating.

The gym, meanwhile, is becoming a headquarters and clearinghouse for fire information and planning.


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