Summit firefighters assisting with Pine Gulch Fire |

Summit firefighters assisting with Pine Gulch Fire

Firefighters with the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District conduct night operations at the Pine Gulch Fire.
Photo from Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District

As officials from around the state gather resources to combat wildfires burning across the Western Slope, Summit County firefighters are doing what they can to help.

Wildfire season is hitting its stride this summer, with the Grizzly Creek Fire growing to more than 13,000 acres in Glenwood Canyon and the Pine Gulch Fire burning more than 73,000 acres north of Grand Junction — now the fourth-largest recorded wildfire in Colorado’s history. 

Crews from Summit’s fire districts are chipping in. Both the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District and Summit Fire & EMS have three-person crews deployed on the Pine Gulch Fire, each with a wildland fire engine.

Red, White & Blue firefighters have been on scene at the fire since Aug. 3 and will be rotated out with others from the department on Sunday, Aug. 16, according to Chief Jim Keating. Summit Fire’s crew arrived Aug. 4, and is expected back Tuesday, Aug. 18.

“It’s really just us doing a favor for our neighbors, and one that we may have to have returned at some point,” Summit Fire spokesperson Steve Lipsher said. “It’s excellent training for our folks. And when we have the manpower available, we definitely like to jump in and help that way.”

Both fire districts emphasized that there is only so much help to go around. With some firefighters already away and others handling day-to-day operations around the county, officials are being particularly watchful for nearby ignitions.

“We’re holding our other two wildland engines back here — where hopefully we won’t need them — to cover our own district,” Keating said. “We’re starting to get worried in our own area. On a (smoky) day like (Friday), we could have a fire and not even notice. So we’re being vigilant.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.