Carbondale hosts Wildfire Academy |

Carbondale hosts Wildfire Academy

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Firefighters and students from 29 states gathered in Carbondale this week to study the common language of fighting wildland fires.”What you learn as a certified firefighter here you can use in any part of the country,” said Justin Dombrowski, a public information officer for the 11th annual Colorado Wildfire Academy. The academy held 43 classes for more than 1,000 students at Roaring Fork High School, ranging from courses on working with the media as a public information officer to studying a fire’s origins as a wildfire investigator. On the fields outside the high school on Thursday, various exhibitors demonstrated the newest wildfire technologies. Don Rue of Fireveil, a sales arm of the Western States Fire Protection Company, explained how a wildfire detector, when positioned on a hill, can read carbon dioxide from a fire miles away, helping to notify communities of a fire more quickly. Various contractors uncoiled hoses and sprayed foam, a more effective method of containing fire than water. Using foam to stop fires can also prevent water damage on houses, Dombrowski said. In an advanced public information officer class, students Mary Cemicek of Wyoming and Lori Halcro of northern Idaho said they were receiving “fantastic” experience.”It’s the wealth of knowledge and experience of the instructors,” Cemicek said. “Anything they can impart on us is the most value to me.”The academy, the first of its kind of in the nation, has inspired other states, including New York, Utah and Arizona, to also hold yearly training seminars.At Two Rivers Park on Thursday evening, the academy presented two commemorative quilts to the cities of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Storm King fire next month. The academy also will donate $1,000 to the Storm King 14 Committee.The weeklong training may bring local economies up to $675,000, with an exact figure coming out today, said Karen Bergethon, liaison officer for the academy.”We’ve developed a family here,” Bergethon said. “That’s what keeps us coming back.” Contact Christine Dell’Amore: 945-8515, ext.

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