You are hereFourmile blaze personal for firefighters
Fourmile blaze personal for firefighters
Battling the Fourmile Fire hit especially close to home for many firefighters.
The fire that began on Labor Day destroyed more than 6,181 acres. With thousands evacuated as the fire zone grew in the foothills west of Boulder, many firefighters themselves had homes in the fire zone.
“A lot of those guys that were fighting the fire—local volunteers—some of them lost their house and still continued to fight the fire and do what they needed to do,” said Lieutenant for the Boulder Emergency Squad, Cooper Arvisais.
Unfortunately there were 169 homes that were lost to the fire, including nine belonging to firefighters.
“It really hits home that we know all these people that are affected by this,” said Andrew Moschetti, chief of the Boulder Emergency Squad.
The local Boulder Emergency Squad (BES) was among the many agencies that helped toward the team effort. Their role began with emergency response, and then shifted toward community relief efforts as the fire progressed.
“It all got escalated pretty quickly as people showed up and realized that it was growing a lot,” Moschetti said.
One of the important roles BES played was to help check credentials as evacuees returned to their homes in the fire zone.
“It was definitely a humbling experience to see these people coming in that have lost everything or don’t know if they have anything left,” Moschetti said.
Moschetti said that by the time the fire was contained, there were more than a thousand firefighters from all around the country helping. BES also helped house displaced firefighters at its headquarters off the Diagonal Highway.
“I’m really proud of all our guys and all the other agencies that were up there, the hundreds, thousands of people that were out helping out with this—especially all the relief from the community, and the support we received there. It was a great effort,” Moschetti said.
Last Sunday, community members even organized a parade on Pearl Street to honor the efforts of all the firefighters and rescuers.
But while the smoke has now cleared, there is still the process of recovery and rebuilding the affected areas of the Fourmile Fire. So far, $217 million in damage claims have been reported.
“It’ll be a lot of work to rebuild. [The fire] did a lot of damage and everything. But it’s a strong community, strong [fire] departments and they’ve already started rebuilding and taking it one day at a time,” Arvisais said.
BES reminds the community that they are ready to lend a hand.
“As they rebuild, if they don’t have time to do stuff, we want to let them know that we’re here to help them out,” said Gary Ratterree, volunteer rescuer for BES.
The blaze was officially 100 percent contained within one week.
On Wednesday, the Boulder District Attorney decided not to file charges against the 71-year-old volunteer firefighter whose fire pit may have started the blaze.
To help the affected firefighters and fire stations text the word FIRE to 27722, to make a $10 donation.
The Boulder Emergency Squad is a non-profit, all-volunteer rescue team. For more information about BES, visit www.boulderrescue.org. Some of BES’ members, including the chief, Moschetti, are CU Boulder alumni.