Friday, April 3, 2015

Limon Fire discusses Burn Ban

By Will Bublitz

A Level 3 burn ban for the Limon Fire Protection District was announced during the Board of Directors meeting Monday, March 30.

The ban prohibits all outdoor burning of trash and other fires within the district. The burning ban was imposed because of the current dry and windy weather, which are perfect conditions for the rapid spread of prairie fires.

“There’s been some issues with burning,” Fire Chief Jason Lacik said. “Under a Level 3 ban, all outdoor burning such as trashed is not allowed. We’ll continue to monitor conditions. Hopefully, this ban will be short-lived.”

The Level 3 burn ban was imposed after Lacik consulted with Sheriff Tom Nestor, who is also the Fire Marshal for Lincoln County. The rest of the county is still under a Level 2 burn ban which limits outside fires to burn barrels and pits.

Lacik said the Tri-County Fire Protection District  headquartered in Rush has also imposed a Level 3 ban in recent days. 

“It’s super dry and windy right now,” Lacik said. “We’ll evaluate the conditions every week. When it’s safe to do, we’ll lift the ban.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Lacik informed the board about the ongoing negotiations between the district and the Town of Limon about the title to the Limon fire station. The town currently holds the title to the building and property, but is willing to transfer the ownership to the district at no charge.

Lacik said he had recently met with Town Manager Dave Stone and Assistant Town Manager Joe Kiely to discuss some of the details the title transfer. The town officials said they wanted any agreement to stipulate the fire station building and its equipment would revert back to the town instead of “a third party” in the unlikely event the district were to disband.

To hammer out the final details of the title transfer, Lacik said a conference call between himself, Stone, Kiely and the attorney working on the agreement was planned for Tuesday, March 31. Board member Jim Martin volunteered to participate in the call.

The final draft of the agreement on the title transfer is expected to be presented for the district board’s approval at its next meeting in April.

In his monthly report, Assistant Fire Chief Ian Christie said the search for a new brush truck has been making progress. The Limon fire department is seeking to replace its current brush truck that has more than 140,000 miles on it and a number of maintenance issues.

Christie said they had gotten “a ballpark figure of roughly $54,000” on one vehicle that would require some modifications before it could become the department’s new brush truck. After further discussion, the board directed him to get a final proposal and present it at the April meeting.

In his monthly operations report, Lacik informed the board that Peak Vista Medical Center had contacted him about donating the use of an old house for the department’s training. The house is located at the corner of D Avenue and Second Street, diagonally across from the medical center.

“Peak Vista would like us to use it for training,” Lacik said. “They’d also like us to burn it down as part of our training.”

Lacik said “environmental studies” would have to be performed prior to burning down the house, including any asbestos abatement. He has already been in contact with state officials about these issues.

“We’re not in any big hurry,” Lacik said. “Before we’d burn it, a training date would have to be set.”
Once the old house is burned down, Lacik said Peak Vista would still be responsible for any cleanup of the property.

Moving onto other issues, Lacik reported to the board members about the district’s applications for grants to purchase additional firefighting gear and communications equipment.

Lacik also said the proposal to assign individual “truck engineers” who would be responsible for each of the department’s vehicles had met with an enthusiastic response from the firefighters.

“They’re excited about it,” he said. “By assigning truck engineers, it will develop a sense of ownership in the vehicles.”

Capt. Tara Christie, the department’s training officer, said three training sessions had been conducted over the past month. These training sessions included the operation of brush trucks, vehicle extrication methods and the effective use of fire hoses. A joint training session with the Genoa firefighters had dealt with the location of fire hydrants within the town.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Lacik went over the emergency calls for the month. During March, Limon’s volunteer firefighters had responded to 13 calls that included 8 motor vehicle accidents, 2 medical assists, 1 grass fire, 1 gas leak and 1 other fire.

The department’s recruiting drive has made gains  since the first of the year. The department currently with an active roster of 16 volunteer firefighters.

“We also have one new out-of-district member,” Lacik said. “James Otteman from Flagler has joined.

 He really wants to help out and is willing to give one weekend a month to work here at the fire station.”

Present at Monday’s meeting was Travis Ford, who joined the department as a firefighter last month with two other volunteers. He moved to Limon last April and works for NextEra. The board welcomed him and expressed their thanks for his willingness to serve the community.

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