By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — There’s hardly been a morning this summer when Coloradans haven’t woken up to a thick haze and the heavy odor of campfire. Several wildfires have burned thousands of acres in the northern and western parts of the state, and summer drought conditions have prompted government officials to issue a strict open-fire ban.
As the local community recognized National Fire Prevention Week, beginning Oct. 4, 2020, and ending Oct. 10, 2020, wildfires remain one area of emphasis, but Fort Carson firefighters didn’t stop there when reaching out to community members to stress the importance of fire prevention efforts.
National Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, an event that killed 250 people, left more than 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings.
Usually, Fort Carson firefighters manage a huge prevention outreach program while observing the week, but this year, thanks to the global pandemic, their efforts have been much more subdued.
“We look forward to this (National Fire Prevention Week) every year,” said Allen Brassfield, fire inspector, Fort Carson Fire Department (FCFD). The firefighters enjoy meeting the public and spreading the word about prevention. We can’t do what we normally do, but we’ve adapted by driving our firetrucks and crews through the post’s housing areas each evening to meet Families.”
Torben Dalstra, captain at Fort Carson Fire Station 25, also joined Sparky the Fire Dog at Grant Library Tuesday for a fire prevention reading. With no children in attendance, Dalstra and Sparky recorded a video of the reading, which was posted on the Fort Carson Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Facebook page later in the week.
“The national theme for this year is ‘Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,’” said Cody Fein, assistant fire chief, FCFD. “This campaign works to educate everyone about the small, but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe, in the kitchen. In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Cooking is the number one cause of home fires and home-fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen. Fort Carson personnel play a vital role in our overall fire safety program. Even though much effort is spent getting the message out, we still have unnecessary loss from fire both on and off the garrison.”
Fein explained that cooking fires can be prevented simply by staying in the kitchen, using a timer and avoiding distractions, such as electronics and television.
“A cooking fire can grow quickly,” she said. “I have seen many homes damaged and people injured by fires that could easily have been prevented.”
Colorado’s Executive Order fire ban expired Oct. 7, 2020, but El Paso County is still under a Stage II Fire Restriction, which prohibits the use of fireworks, outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle and outdoor cooking except for with propane gas grills on private property.