The morning starts early for firefighters getting ready to fight the Waldo Canyon Fire for yet another day.
The morning briefing is attended by crew, engine and squad bosses and begins promptly at 6 a.m.
“This is where it starts. The folks are not sent out until they get a morning briefing and they get a briefing packet that they take, and this is specific to their shift for today,” said John Nichols, public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service.
The meeting begins with an in-depth discussion of weather conditions and how they will impact fire behavior. Special attention is focused on the threat of lightning and gusty winds, as these elements can be detrimental to the firefighting effort.
The assignments for each division are then discussed, followed by health and safety messages.
Once the briefing concludes, those in attendance report back to their crews to repeat the information.
While the managers are at the briefing, the remaining crew members are eating breakfast and packing up the necessary tools and supplies that will get them through their 12 hour shift.
“It’s busy camp in the morning because you have a short amount of time when you have to get a lot of stuff done and it’s kind of a division of labor,” said Nichol.
Along with critical information and assignments, speakers addressed the focus of the firefighting efforts in what some referred to as the “reality check.”
“There’s still a fire out there. It is not out. Seventy percent contained does not equal out in my book. There’s still a lot of work to do out there,” said Rich Harvey, incident commander for the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Safety was stressed during the meeting, as was the incident objective: get the fire contained and out.
“It’s only the fourth quarter, folks. It’s only the fourth quarter. The game is not over until the clocks click to zero. We’re not there yet. Stay focused on the mission and have a very safe day out there,” Harvey concluded.