Thread: Storm King - 14 died
06-13-2002, 03:25 AM #1
Storm King - 14 died
As the fire burns here again....we remember those who died. May they rest in peace.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Nearly eight years ago, sudden
high winds whipped a blaze into a firestorm that sent flames racing
up a mountainside, killing 14 firefighters.
On Wednesday, firefighters battling a 10,600-acre wildfire on
the same mountain made camp near a memorial to those who had died.
"It's sort of a reflective period," said Justin Dombrowski,
information officer for the fire burning about 150 miles west of
Denver. "You can look up on the hillside and see Storm King
The July 1994 fire on Storm King Mountain, triggered by
lightning, smoldered at fewer than 50 acres for three days. But
within hours, high winds spread the blaze to 2,110 acres.
A government investigation into the wildfire blamed fire
managers for failing to recognize the dangers of shifting weather.
Today, managers prohibit firefighters from taking chances, and are
more cautious and less aggressive about fighting a fire in steep
terrain or dangerous weather.
Firefighters also have the right to refuse assignments if they
are uncomfortable with the level of safety.
"It's the gung-ho attitude we're trying to corral a little
bit," incident commander Steve Hart said. "Sometimes there's
nothing you can do about it so you might as well sit back and have
a Snickers and a Coke."
That idea has been galling to some residents, who question why
air tankers do not start dropping retardant on the fire at daylight
or work the fire around the clock.
Carol Jensen, whose mobile home was damaged, criticized crews
for not giving her and her neighbors enough warning. The mobile
home park where Jensen lives was devastated after the fire advanced
quickly, with several homes destroyed.
"I think they should have learned a lot more eight years ago,"
Jensen said. "They should have alerted the public a lot earlier."
The Storm King fire was one of at least eight burning in
Colorado, including the largest wildfire in state history, which
had moved within about 35 miles of Denver.
The fire here began Saturday, apparently ignited by an
underground coal fire that has burned for years. On Wednesday,
firefighters pitched some 600 tents near a a memorial that includes
a bronze statue of three firefighters and marble plaques with a
picture and brief description of those who died in 1994.
"I think everybody needs to be here to see it," said Aaron
Thompson, a member of an engine crew from the Black Hills National
Forest in South Dakota. "People can come up and look at this and
say, 'Fourteen guys died right here."'
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated PressProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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