CHUGWATER, Wyo. (RELEASE) – The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming is pleased to announce their transfer of a wildland fire engine to the Chugwater Rural Fire Protection District on May 3, 2019. The BLM High Plains District transferred the engine under the BLM’s new Rural Fire Readiness (RFR) program, which is designed to enhance collaborative wildland firefighting capabilities by providing equipment to local wildland firefighting partners at no cost.
“The BLM works closely with the fire districts throughout Platte County to suppress wildland fires that threaten communities, property and, in some cases, natural resources. This engine will augment Chugwater’s wildland fire response capabilities, allowing us to further enhance our effective wildland firefighting partnership,” said BLM Wyoming State Director Mary Jo Rugwell.
Cooperative partnerships between the BLM and local and rural fire departments are crucial to remote wildfire response on private, state and federal lands affecting grazing, recreational, wildlife and other values important to local economies. In 2018, BLM Wyoming responded to 330 wildfires, which burned 272,547 acres in Wyoming.
“The Rural Fire Readiness program allows us to make fully-outfitted, modern firefighting equipment available to our local cooperators,” said BLM High Plains Fire Management Officer Kirk Strom. “This type 4 engine has a large water carrying capacity and high clearance, making it ideal for the type of remote, rural incident response that Chugwater regularly conducts in Platte and neighboring counties.”
The fire engine completed it’s federal service in BLM New Mexico. Once made available for the RFR, the BLM identified Platte County as an ideal recipient based on their eligibility criteria, including:
• Having an existing cooperative fire response agreement with the BLM
• Serving a rural community or area
• Having wildland fire protection responsibilities
• Being in close proximity to BLM-administered lands and responding to wildland fires in support of BLM when available and as needed
“The volunteers in our departments are excellent wildland firefighters,” explained Platte County Fire Warden Aaron Clark. “With the aid of modern equipment like this engine, we are able to increase our suppression capabilities with fewer folks.”
The BLM accepts applications from local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations for available vehicles, equipment and supplies. The bureau will transfer excess items to local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations during the fall and winter months, prior to the next fire season.