Firefighters from Hartville Volunteer Fire Department, Guernsey Rural Fire Department, and Camp Guernsey Fire Department and Range Control responded to three fires in Camp Guernsey’s North Training Area on June 18, 2021.
A range control specialist first observed the fires, which were the result of a training incident. With the amount of smoke observed, CGFD Engine 1 made the decision to page Hartville VFD for additional resources, due to the low number of Camp Guernsey personnel and knowing the fire was outside of the impact area.
Because of the difficult location of the third fire on a steep drainage, crews determined the safest option was to back out, establish containment lines, and conduct burn operations. Command then requested Guernsey Rural, who responded with five trucks and seven personnel.
Command also called the 244th Engineer Battalion on the nearby training range and requested a D7 Dozer and operator to help put containment lines on the existing two track roads.
The Joint Operations Center in Cheyenne sent a UH-60 Black Hawk from Cheyenne to assist in firefighting. Once the black hawk arrived, Command assigned Engine 1 to call in bucket drops on the south fire, where access was still difficult and no containment lines were established. In total, the black hawk dropped 14 buckets of water.
With burnout operations complete, crews monitored the fire and were successful at holding the fire on the fire breaks. Once mop up operations were complete, Command drove the perimeter and assessed the fire was no longer a threat of leaving the containment lines.
Engine 1 cleared the scene around 3:30 a.m. the next morning. In total, 50 acres were burned.
“This incident was a great example of multiple agencies, both civilian and military, coming together for one purpose; to stop fire spread, and in doing so, protect life and property,” said Jason Taliaferro, Hartville VFD fire chief.