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Fighting the Cameron Peak Fire: "A grueling thing to experience"

Local firefighters help relieve those who have been there since the beginning
Fighting the Cameron Peak Fire: "A grueling thing to experience"
Posted at 3:02 AM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 05:02:58-04

SOUTHERN COLORADO — The work being done a daily basis to fight the Cameron Peak Fire is nothing short of amazing, but also is exhausting.

On Thursday, a crew of Colorado Springs firefighters left to help with the Cameron Peak Fire, and one group came home after battling the blaze. "We're hopeful that by sending our resources there to help that we're able to kind of give them a break. They have just been working around the clock, day and night shift," said Colorado Springs Firefighter and Paramedic Will Rogers, who has been to the Cameron Peak Fire twice.

Rogers said this year has been busier than an average year. "Earlier this year, we had the largest fire in Colorado history with Pine Gulch, about 140,000 acres. Now we again, in the same year, have Cameron Peak at over 200,000... These fires, they kind of stack on top of each other because of the weather. So, we're trying our best to suppress these fires, but it's very difficult, and very difficult terrain," said Rogers.

Lieutenant Pete Johnston has been to the Cameron Peak Fire four times now. "I was speaking with the volunteer corps up at the Cameron Peak Fire, as of two weeks ago, they were on day 56. And it's not like they can take time off, so it's got to be a grueling thing to experience... I feel tired myself just being up there, the four limited times that I was," said Lt. Johnston.

The Pueblo Fire Department has also sent three deployments of firefighters to the Cameron Peak Fire. Chief Barb Huber explained the fatigue setting in for firefighters who have been working the blaze for months has nothing to do with a lack of passion for the job. "Even though we love what we do and we're passionate about what we do, over time, especially depending on the work rest cycles, it just becomes cumulative. And then what you can put into it, and the amount of mental effort you can put into it decreases, and so then that creates safety concerns," said Chief Huber.

There's hope the cold front moving in will help with the Cameron Peak Fire. "If that cold front doesn't suppress these fires, then we're going to continue sending resources to them to try and help those communities that are threatened," said Rogers.

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