By Jamie Leary
BASALT, Colo. (CBS4) – As containment on the Lake Christine Fire topped 40 percent on Tuesday, nearly 1,000 members of the community gathered to say thank you to firefighters.
With signs and booming voices, people cheered for stunned fire crews as they came off their shifts.
“These are your friends and they are putting their lives on the line to save our home and I think that’s the most heartwarming part,” said Tom Banner.
Banner and his wife were evacuated from their home in the Shadowrock development. On Tuesday he showed CBS4 how close the fire came to his home. His neighbor’s home was one of the three destroyed in the fire.
“You can see his chimney. That was his living room,” Banner said. “It could have been hundreds (of homes). It was feet away from hundreds.”
Tuesday brought some relief as the Lake Christine Fire smoldered in the rain. It was also an opportunity for Chief Scott Thompson’s crew to inspect their gear.
“We get ready because our job is to be in a constant state of ready,” said Thompson.
Thompson is the chief for the Basalt and Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District. They were the first to respond along with neighboring districts.
On Tuesday, volunteers and paid firefighters alike were inspecting vehicles, sharpening tools and looking for any equipment which may need replacing.
“This is hose we use on the fire so we’re just getting it back in service to put back in the trucks,” said one firefighter.
It was a busy day, but a much less hectic one than in the tense first few days after the Lake Christine Fire ignited.
“I am very relieved. The fire is not contained but it is moving away from populated areas,” he said.
At last check the fire was 43 percent contained and the perimeter was listed at 6,285 acres.
While Tuesday’s rain helped, Thompson said he believes the lightning strikes that came with it have the potential to start new fires.
Thompson says his crew was ready for the Lake Christine Fire and it will be for anything else that comes his way.
“My job is to protect property and take care of my firefighters and save lives and that’s exactly what we did,” said Thompson.
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Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.