An Inside Look at the Pine Ridge Fire's Incident Command Post
KREX News Room
DE BEQUE, Colo.- More than 100 residents came to a community advisory meeting Saturday at the De Beque Community Center, all eager to find out what was going on with the fire. Some don’t have cell phones or the Internet to help them find out what’s happening.
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, as well as the commander of the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team and other officials, attended to report the latest details.
Residents were relieved to hear all evacuations had been lifted. However, officials still warn residents to keep livestock relocated if they are able to do so. Folks are also told to remain vigilant, just in case anything should change with the fire.
Looking back at when the fire began, one community member, Holly Balderston, said, "After the shock went away, I just figured, I got my kids, I got the pictures and stuff. I knew I was going to be evacuated. So I just grabbed what was necessary and went to Parachute."
At this point the fire is a little more than 12,400 acres and is about 10 percent contained.
NewsChannel 5 also got a look into what goes on at the Incident Command Post for the the Pine Ridge Fire. It is located at De Beque Elementary.
Bill Hahnenbert, commander of the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team, said, "You know, we've brought about 400 firefighters in this town of 500, so we're a big impact."
It takes not only those risking their lives to put out the fires, but also those who create a new plan of action to do so everyday.
Skye Sieber, a fire official, said, "Looking at the weather, looking at the terrain that this fire is burning in ... they're looking at the forecast for next week. They're looking at what resources are available now nationally and locally."
The Incident Command Post is where all of the organization takes place. The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team was brought in to help tackle the Pine Ridge Fire. They handle the most intricate of wildfires.
"We've got about 30 miles of fire line all the way around it, so we have to set priorities," said Hahnenbert.
Bob Kittridge, the liaison officer for the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, said, "Utility roads, the railroads, Xcel Energy, some of the oil and gas companies, are all people I communicate with."
The post also serves as a home base for firefighters after a strenuous day of work.
Battalion Chief Ron Adkins, who arrived in De Beque Saturday from Nevada, said, "We were on the High Park Fire and then we got reassigned to this one. It's usually a 12-hour shift, a day and night shift. We have the night shift."
Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, was at the Incident Command Post Saturday and said, "On behalf of the citizens of Colorado and the citizens of De Beque, thank you for risking your lives."