NEAR MONUMENT, Colo - Don't let the cool breezes, rainy nights and last snowfall lull you into a false sense of security when it comes to fire season. Scott Sugg with the U.S. Forest Service was with fire crews including the Hot Shots as part of training to keep you fire safe, "It's not just a specific fire season anymore, it's a year round effort. You have mud puddles and things on the ground right now with our recent snow, however it doesn't mean we won't have a fire season. Sometimes it can be deceiving for sure and it can take a lot less than you think to start a fire, despite the moisture."
Kevin Neiman is with the Pike Interagency 20 person Hot Shot crew. He and his crew were among those in the thick of Friday's training. He knows he and his crew could be gone to fight fires in a minute's notice. Last year they were fighting fires for 120 days. Their last day on the job was October 19th. He told us this training is vital, "We learn why something worked, why were the crews successful during a fire event and re-visit past tragedies and learn from those and not duplicate those events."
Last Summer Kevin's Hot Shot crew was in the thick of the High Park Fire while other Hot Shots from across the country were here on his turf fighting the Waldo Canyon Fire when it started. Neiman said, "You never know how it will end up. A Hot Shot crew fights the fire in your backyard while you are in their backyard."
He said despite the advances in firefighting there is one thing that is a constant in his business, "When it comes down to it, it's still people on the ground getting out there, doing the physical labor. That's who put's out the fires." Neiman also knows it's a team effort with his counterparts in the air attacking the fires from the sky.