ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Crews on the Muddy Slide Fire burning in Routt County are using the wet weather as a chance to strengthen containment lines and prepare for hotter, dry weather to come.
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Currently, the fire is just over 4,000 acres with just 28% containment. Officials say, despite the recent wet weather, all it takes is one windy day for things to flare up.
It’s why the operations behind the scenes are so critical. On Thursday, CBS4 had the chance to visit the forward operating base of the fire, or FOB, a large camp set up in less than 24 hours, which supports nearly 400 personnel.
“Many [people] don’t realize what type of a city is built up and how many people it takes to keep this going but I think it’s also really neat because this is amazing interagency cooperation and people working together and making something come together in very few hours,” said Tamara Dierks, the Logistics Section Chief Trainee.
Recently, the fire saw a transition to a type two incident management team, which offers more resources and personnel. At the FOB, you will find showers, cell towers, and a full kitchen- among other amenities.
“So those semis, there are a kitchen unit- it’s a mobile caterer and they can feed up to 1,000 firefighters a day if we need them too. Right now they’re doing about the 400,” Dierks continued, “They work 24 hours a day, in fact right now, they’re probably prepping dinner and throughout the middle of the night they’re doing their sack lunches and prepping those and it’s really cool.”READ MORE: 'Doing Nothing Is Not An Option': New Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington Vows To Fix Long Lines
There are three spike camps near the fire line, where frontline crews spend most of their time. The FOB even has drivers to make sure they have what they need; however, the addition of mobile cell towers helps to limit trips back and fourth.
“One of our most dangerous things in firefighting is actually driving, and we try to cut down on driving and making people come back and forth and so if we can do a teams call or a Zoom call, we’re gonna do that instead of making them come in for a 15-minute meeting,” she said.
The crews also get daily deliveries from the Rocky Mountain cash, a giant warehouse near Denver, which supplies the region’s firefighters with gear. The supply yard at the FOB is currently full
“It has batteries, it has our Nomex pants and shirts, paper towels, toilet paper, anything you could possibly think of is in this yard and so the firefighters request something, get daily deliveries from the Rocky Mountain cash,” she said.
While those on the frontlines are the ones working to contain the fire, the work wouldn’t be possible without this kind of support and interagency cooperation.
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“I think it’s really cool to get the awareness out for the hard workers out here too. Operations of course, they’re doing the job, they’re getting it done, they’re the rockstars, but I also think we shouldn’t forget about the people behind the scenes who are helping them do their job safely.”