ELIZABETH, Colo. (KDVR) — The team of firefighters at the Elizabeth Fire Protection District is going on just more than two weeks of being on standby for red flag warning days.
“The worry is the wind that can drive that fire faster than we are able to get out to it,” Division Chief Kara Gerczynski said.
Gerczynski said during red flag days, they staff up. Usually, at one of the fire stations, there are five firefighters ready to go but they increase to around eight for red flag warnings.
“We have be extra prepared for what those red flag warning dangers bring to us,” said Tommy Gamboa, a district firefighter and paramedic.
In total, the fire crew covers 111 square miles of a variety of terrain. It’s anything from farmland to the pine forest.
“We have over 500 homes in the ponderosa pine areas. Then we also have areas of our flashy fuels and grass,” Gerczynski said.
Between multiple fire stations, the district has around 23 paid firefighters and 25 volunteer firefighters along with a handful of part-time firefighters. Gerczynski said they could always use additional volunteer firefighters.
“We have a lot of people moving into Colorado who’ve never had to deal with dry conditions and red flag warnings,” Gerczynski said
The firefighters ask the community to be smart and aware when it comes to high-risk days. They said that as you mitigate the area around your home, clean up, don’t throw out ashes or cigarettes and make sure to sign up for Code Red texts so you know when to evacuate.
“It’s been extra windy the last two weeks,” Gamboa said.