As VOLUNTEERS, many times we leave our loved ones at a moment’s notice to go into unknown, high-risk situations and try to make a small, positive impact on our community. This was the case last Friday, April 22nd.
The Kiowa County Fire Protection district, which includes volunteers from Eads, Sheridan Lake, Towner and Haswell, is a small group of volunteers from our local community. When Prowers County requested assistance, two of our units were able to respond to Prowers County for mutual aid. As the Chivington/Brandon fire (7 miles north of the Prowers County line) was called in, these two units quickly responded back to Kiowa County. One unit was unable to respond north because of muddy/sandy conditions but was safely in the burnt black zone in no threat.
Upon arrival at the Brandon/Chivington fire, our crews quickly found the power line/tree point of origin and began to make a plan to set breaks and save structures. Jace Negley, Eads Fire Chief, quickly became the Incident Commander and took charge of each of the units as they arrived to attack this very quick-moving fire. While this was the quickest-moving, most volatile fire we have seen in a while and one we weren’t sure we could stop, we worked together as a crew and saved every structure this fire tried to take. We believe this was in large part because all of our Kiowa County Fire Trucks were at the scene in Kiowa County. We were in Kiowa County along with our neighboring districts working this fire.
As the new Haswell fire started, we were able to separate and allow Sheridan Lake, along with other neighboring districts, to stay and monitor any hot spots and structures while the remaining crews rushed to the Haswell fire. We were only slowed down by roadblocks that the Kiowa County Sheriff’s department had set up. Our Haswell Fire Chief Tim Wolf quickly took charge and explained why we needed through, which quickly allowed us to get permission to go around and help Bent County and other fire districts with the newest fire. Again, everyone involved worked to ensure people were safe and structures were saved.
We volunteers would like the community members of Kiowa County to know that we take this job very seriously, and we are always going to be on scene to assist with our own fires, along with helping our neighboring counties with their fires. That, to us, is what this is about; it’s why we volunteer. Just like you, the members of Kiowa County, who help a neighbor when they need help, we do the same. If you as community members ever hear that we aren’t on-scene or aren’t helping our fellow fire fighters to do all we can for our community, please ask one of us. We are more than willing to talk you through these scenes as we are that passionate about this job we volunteer for.
Finally, we would like to thank the other fire districts and road and bridge from across the state that came, with mutual aid, to help us fight these fires. As members of other districts, we know you all understand why it is so important to have neighboring counties that can help us stop these fires and gain control of the fast-moving fires. It is a privilege to work with you all, and we know how much it means to be thanked for your tireless efforts. Your assistance does not go unnoticed and is much appreciated! Also, to the local farmers who helped us to slow down these fires with your equipment—thank you! Going into these dangerous situations takes courage and determination to help your fellow man, and we are proud to know you and ever so grateful for your selflessness! Last, but certainly not least, we know we had countless members of the communities bring us tankers of water, supplies, or graciously bring us meals to get us through the long day. We don’t take a single act of kindness for granted! Please know that no matter how small the helpful gesture, we appreciate all help! We are so proud of our community and the help that we received. We feel that you stand in line with us knowing how important this community is to all of us. Thank you for listening to our account of how our fire district did our duty with honor to help protect our community.
“May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.”—Thomas Jefferson
Kiowa County Fire Protection District (Eads, Sheridan Lake, Towner and Haswell)