Wildfire Mobilization Center Sets Up in Grand Valley
CLIFTON, Colo. An operation management team has arrived in the Grand Valley. They've set up a mobilization center for rapid response to any new wildfires. Officials say they want to be prepared, due to rising temperatures. They also say the location, Grand Mesa Middle School, is ideal for responding to fires around the region. Many folks at the center say they've been doing this work for nearly 20 years. While they aren't physically fighting the fires, they are helping to get the job done in other ways. Like parts of a well-oiled machine, each team member with the Oregon Incident Management 3 has a duty. "Facilitate the needs of the firefighter, whether it be rest, food, shelter," said Bill Queen, public information officer for the team. William Huber, time unit leader, said, "This is like the head of the animal, it directs things and makes sure that things get done." Maxine Kline, food unit leader, said, "Need to make sure their food is safe, determine how many people we send per meal, how many lunches to order." This team travels all over country, now their needed here in the Grand Valley. "It's all about helping the guys on the ground. They can't do their job unless we do our jobs," said Kelly Palmer, ordering manager for the team. "When you start out as a firefighter, it makes you realize how important positions are in-camp, as far as what team does to support firefighters," said Kline. Each incident they've been on has a story. "The first or second day it's adrenaline," said Huber. "The first two days when you're setting up, it's just frustrating, because you can't be as efficient as you like," said Palmer. However, the cause is close to their hearts Incident Commander, Doug Johnson, said, "Our number one priority is taking care of the firefighter on the ground. This team has enabled us to manage many many complex incidents." "What's that old saying? Taking care of the land, serving the people," said Huber. They'll remain in the Grand Valley until their expertise is needed elsewhere in the region. Officials say it could be weeks.