Forest Service patrollers to help keep Dillon Ranger District safe from wildfires | SummitDaily.com

Forest Service patrollers to help keep Dillon Ranger District safe from wildfires

The U.S.F.S. patrol crew working in Dillon Ranger District this summer. Left to right: Brett Karnitz, Trent Kenreigh, Katie Caulfield and Ashli Gonzales-Griffin.

A freshly trained team of U.S. Forest Service patrollers set out on the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest this week, beginning a summer-long project to prevent wildfires and protect natural resources. The new four-person crew, which will be on the job through mid-September, is part of a collaborative partnership among the Dillon Ranger District; Summit County; Summit County Sheriff's Office; Summit Fire & EMS; Red, White & Blue Fire; and the towns of Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne.

The crew will conduct campsite monitoring, visitor contacts and fire-prevention messaging throughout the Dillon Ranger District, which is located entirely within Summit County.

"A four-person dispersed recreation crew to monitor, patrol, ranger and educate summer visitors on the Dillon Ranger District is a definite game-changer," district ranger Bill Jackson said. "In coordination with the Summit County Sheriff's Office, this crew will provide coverage seven days a week and stay focused on the goal of campfire monitoring, dispersed recreation patrol, fire prevention messaging and visitor-education activities this season."

In addition to the USFS crew, personnel from the Summit County Sheriff's Office will also conduct fire-prevention patrol work.

"The Summit County Sheriff's Office is proud to collaborate with our partners in this wildfire protection plan," Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. "We will be out there engaging with residents and visitors on the dangers of wildfires, and we'll be working to identify and extinguish potential wildfires before they happen."

Part of the patrol crew's work will include a districtwide inventory of dispersed campsites to facilitate future management of camping and fire-prevention activities. At such sites, the crew will remove litter and abandoned property, monitor and remove illegal residential campers, install and maintain signage and enforce camping closures.

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Crew members will conduct periodic inspection and maintenance of fire pits in dispersed campsites, including removal of vegetation and overhead branches, removal of ashes and decommission of fire pits that aren't in suitable locations. If fire restrictions are implemented, the crew will educate the public about the restrictions and perform enforcement.