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Summit County firefighters head to Front Range


Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue crews fighting a small wildfire near Keystone, Colorado in March, 2012.

Moderate fire danger in the high country enable local departments to lend a hand with Black Forest Fire

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With only a moderate potential for wildfires in Summit County, local firefighters have been sent to the Front Range to help fight the destructive Black Forest Fire. The assignment could last as long as two weeks, according to a press release from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

The fire northeast of Colorado Springs has already destroyed about 80 to 100 homes and forced the evacuation of several thousand residents, and more homes are still at risk.

In Summit County, fire experts say wildfires are unlikely right now following a wet spring. The potential for fires is expected to creep up the next few weeks and could reach a critical level by late June, according to LDFR deputy chief Jeff Berino. Continue reading

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Colorado: Fire destroys Summit County home

Firefighters from Lake Dillon and Red, White & Blue fire departments battle a blaze at a landmark home in Montezuma known as the "Tiltin' Hilton." The house was completely destroyed. Credit: Lt. Scott Vinas, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue

Firefighters from Lake Dillon and Red, White & Blue fire departments battle a blaze at a landmark home in Montezuma known as the “Tiltin’ Hilton.” Photo courtesy Lt. Scott Vinas, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

Landmark Montezuma residence goes up in flames

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A distinctive Montezuma resident sometimes known as the “Tiltin’ Hilton” was destroyed by fire Tuesday afternoon, according to a release from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

The A-frame house with the distinctive off-kilter three-story addition was a total loss, but fortunately there were no injuries. More than 20 firefighters from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue and Red, White & Blue Fire were called to the blaze about 1:30 p.m. The first crew on scene at 1:47 p.m. was met outside by one of the residents, who reported that no one was in the building. Continue reading

Colorado: Carbon-monoxide alarms spike during cold snap


Carbon-monoxide detectors have saved lives in Summit County this winter.

Emergency officials recommend appliance inspections along with CO detectors

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County emergency officials say the recent spell of cold weather triggered a rash of carbon-monoxide alarms, showing the value of installing carbon-monoxide detectors.

Lake Dillon firefighters have been called to several alarms in recent weeks, reinforcing the notion that CO detectors serve a valuable function in alerting residents about the dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in their homes, especially in winter, when stoves, furnaces and fireplaces that burn combustible materials such as natural gas, propane, wood, pellets and coal are in use. Continue reading

Summit County crews assigned to regional fires

Summit County crews are helping out on several wildfires in the region.

Dry lighting still triggering small fires on Colorado Western Slope

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters have been able to contain a number of lightning-caused wildfires on the Western Slope of Colorado, including the Wrigley Fire and the Long Mesa Fire, burning in the BLM’s Black Canyon Wilderness area.

Elsewhere on the Western Slope, crews are still responding to reports of smoke and smaller fires, scattered primarily over the west and central zones, as thunderstorms continue to spark small blazes in dry fuel.

Suppression work on the Long Mesa Fire advanced using ground crews and helicopter assistance for logistics and some “bucket drops” of water. Better visibility and more accurate mapping capabilities reduced the affected area for this fire to 150 acres. Three crews continue to work on the fire in rough, rugged and remote terrain. Continue reading

Summit County resident saves home, dogs from fire

Quick thinking, smoke detectors and a well-placed garden hose help Mesa Cortina resident exinguish threatening blaze

Marcus Mathieu Mirazo used a garden hose to put out a threatening kitchen fire at his Mesa Cortina home. PHOTO BY LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A quick-thinking Mesa Cortina resident used a garden hose Tuesday to extinguish a kitchen fire that threatened to destroy his home at 041 King’s Court.

Marcus Mathieu Mirazo said the beeping of a neighbor’s smoke detector woke him up Tuesday afternoon while he was napping between jobs. When he walked outside to investigate, he noticed smoke pouring from the upstairs eaves.

Mirazo quickly hooked up a garden hose and started spraying the flames that had started slipping out the cracking the kitchen window. He hauled the hose up an external stairway, broke up a door window with a rock and hosed down the rolling flames that by that time had nearly engulfed the small kitchen. Continue reading

Keystone: Sprinklers control condo grease fire

A fire in the Seasons condominiums in Keystone on Friday morning was contained by a fire sprinkler. The blaze started when a resident left a pot of oil on a hot burner, which ignited an adjacent microwave and cabinets. PHOTO COURTESY LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.

Close call in early morning kitchen blaze

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A close call Friday at at Keystone condo shows the importance of maintaining sprinkler systems, according to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Lispher, who said firefighters responded to the morning call after a resident left a pot of oil on a hot burner a short distance beneath a microwave oven.

The oil generated enough heat to start the fire, which climbed up some adjacent cabinetry until a sprinkler head in the vaulted ceiling over the kitchen activated. The fire was kept in check by a fire-sprinkler system until  firefighters from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue arrived a short time later to extinguish the flames that smoldered beneath the overhanging kitchen fascia, which partially had shielded the fire from the sprinkler.

The fire in the eight-unit building caused an estimated $12,000 in damage. Continue reading

Summit County: A few winter weather tips …

High country residents can help themselves and others by following a few common sense cold weather tips froom Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

Stay safe in the cold!

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As winter’s snows pile up, the crews at Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue ask that high country residents and visitors alike help keep themselves and others safe with a few tips:

  • Adopt a hydrant. With a good snowpack already on the ground and more coming, fire hydrants often get partially or fully buried by plows. Help out the fire crews – and provide a nice community benefit – by digging out fire hydrants in your neighborhood or near your workplace. This can make a critical difference in saving a building. Send us a photo to pio@ldfr.org for our website of you clearing a hydrant, and we’ll give you an LDFR goodie package.
  • Install and test carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors. Although most homes now have smoke detectors, few residents remember to test them once a month to ensure that they are working properly. Likewise, carbon-monoxide detectors have been proven to save lives. Put in fresh batteries and check them regularly, particularly if you are using gas- or wood-burning appliances for heat.
  • Dig out gas meters and propane-tank valves. If snow piles up next to pipes and fittings, even tiny leaks can build up explosive concentrations and displace air enough to knock you out.
  • Slow down and back off. Some people will be surprised to know that the preponderance of our emergency calls are not for fires but for vehicle crashes. Every motorist knows – but it bears repeating – that roads in winter can be exceedingly slick, and markedly slower speeds and significantly greater stopping distances are required. Don’t tailgate; accelerate and decelerate smoothly and gradually; and avoid unpredictable moves. Also remember that what looks like a little water runoff on a sunny day actually can be black ice.

Summit County fire officials urge preparedness

The Fourmile Canyon Fire burns near a home west of of Boulder. Photo Courtesy http://www.inciweb.org.

Clearing defensible space and making emergency plans pays off in the worst-case scenario, fire chiefs say

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Pair of fast-moving fires on the Front Range — including the destructive Fourmile Canyon blaze — has prompted local fire officials to renew warnings to local residents about fire risks in the high country. Taking steps now to protect homes and properties can pay off in the worst-case scenario, they said.

“As we’ve seen in past wildfires, one of the main determinants in whether a home survives is what it is made of and whether there is adequate ‘defensible space’ for firefighters to intervene,” said Chief Dave Parmley of Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

To create defendable space around the home, property owners should reduce fuels in a zone at least 30 feet away from their homes. This can be accomplished by creating 10- to 15-foot spacing between clumps of trees, removing limbs from trees to 10 feet off the ground and trimming grasses to four inches high. Fuels – including all dead limbs, trees and other vegetation – should thinned throughout the rest of the property. Continue reading

Court orders Lower Blue resident to pay wildfire costs

Firefighters battle a brushfire in the Farmer's Korner area in this May file image. Lake Dillon Fire Rescue responds to fires that are outside local fire districts, a fact noted by a county judge who ruled that a Lower Blue resident must pay restitution for a wildfire he caused several years ago. PHOTO BY SCOTTY BONDO.

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue was a ‘victim’ of the crime in a broad legal sense, according to Summit County Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Lower Blue resident Mark Mathis must pay $5,398.75 in restitution to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, Summit County Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez ruled Wednesday, finding that the fire department was “aggrieved” as a result of Mathis’ criminal actions.

Mathis started an unpermitted fire on his property, nine miles north of Silverthorne, in November 2007. The fire escaped and threatened other homes in the Sierra Bosque neighborhood. He pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and was placed on 13 months probation and ordered to pay costs and restitution.

But Mathis refused to pay, arguing that Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, as a government agency, was not a “victim” eligible for restitution under state law. Continue reading

Summit ‘Keep the Beat’ program pays off with a big save

A practice session with an automated external defibrillator.

Responders use an automated external defibrillator to revive a heart attack victim at a Frisco restaurant

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Training, collaboration and up-to-date equipment paid off for local emergency workers last week as they used a life-saving electro-shock device to save a local man who suffered a heart attack at a Frisco restaurant.

Frisco Police officers responding to the emergency 9-1-1 call  at Carlos Miguel’s restaurant, where they used an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, to help a 65-year-old Silverthorne man regain his pulse.

“This case really exemplifies how a system can work together to save a life” says Summit County Ambulance Director Marc Burdick. “From the trained bystanders to the police department to the fire and ambulance, the hospital and Flight-For-Life, everyone worked hard and performed as we train.” Continue reading


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