Local BLM wildland firefighters make national news for note

These were the fire conditions faced by members of the White River Field Office BLM Engine No. 1446 at the East Troublesome Fire in Grand County last week. They saved a house belonging to Daniel Stones, who tweeted his thanks with a picture of a note left by the crew. The tweet has garnered national media attention.

Meeker | Wildland firefighters from the BLM’s White River Field Office in Meeker made state and national news this week for leaving a handwritten note at a home in the path of the East Troublesome Fire in Grand County. Kyle Frary, Landon Smith and Beau Steele of Engine No. 1446 were called out to the fire last Wednesday.

Frary, 36, who has 18 years experience as a wildland firefighter, said the East Troublesome Fire was different from the fires his unit is accustomed to tackling because of the number of structures in the area. Instead of working on perimeter control, they were focused on structure protections.

Daniel Stones’ home was inside the fire line, but survived the blaze, losing a shed to the flames. A contractor sent to check on the home found a handwritten note apologizing for the loss of the shed and explaining the cut fence line and gave it to Stones.

Frary said it’s “kind of standard practice out of Meeker” to leave behind a note and contact information if they’ve done any alterations on a property — like cutting a fence, or separating a deck from a home, which they did in Stones’ case — during fire suppression efforts, so property owners know what happened.

Grateful to the firefighters, Stones posted the note with a map of the fire and his property’s location inside the fireline to Twitter, where it quickly gained traction on social media and was picked up by network news stations.

While the Tweet mentions @MeekerFire, the Twitter handle for Rio Blanco Volunteer Fire and Rescue, it was actually the BLM wildland firefighting crew on the scene.

Frary, Smith and Steele returned home on Saturday. “When the snow started, they sent us home.”

By NIKI TURNER – editor@ht1885.com

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