firefighters

Joseph C. Stone, Albuquerque Fire Department

A University of Wyoming study finds that exposing wildland firefighters to heat may help them avoid heat-related illnesses.

Wildfire season is upon us. As fire crews start heading out, politicians and the Trump administration are at odds over the measures needed to keep firefighters safe and on the job.

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Many parts of the Mountain West are predicted to have above normal wildfire potential this summer. The coronavirus promises to make fire season abnormal in other ways, too.

As the pandemic decimates local budgets across the Mountain West, another threat looms large at local fire stations across the region: wildfires. That has lawmakers and firefighters demanding more federal support.

How are wildland firefighters expected to battle blazes during a pandemic? That's not entirely clear, but a bipartisan bill proposed by Mountain West lawmakers aims to help ensure firefighters' safety.

As the U.S. Forest Service prepares for the wildfire season, it must also confront COVID-19.

Already the agency's put a stop to prescribed burning. And it says it will continue fire suppression and other activities with guidance from the CDC.

Senators from Colorado and Nevada are among those sponsoring a bill aimed at reducing firefighters’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Earlier this month the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill, which aims to protect firefighters from being exposed to a group of chemicals known as PFAS that are found in firefighting foams and gear.

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

We’ve had a brutal fire season this year. The fires still burning across California have left more than 80 dead, and hundreds are still missing. Amidst the flames, a seemingly new trend has emerged – a two-tiered system with private firefighting resources for those who can afford them, and a system stretched thin for the rest.


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It may be autumn in a couple of days but wildfire season isn't slowing down. People living in parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah remain evacuated from their homes because of nearby wildfires. And the flames are fueling another thing-private firefighting companies.

Wildfires are still burning across much of the Mountain West. In Colorado, heat and drought are pushing fires into new areas. In Utah, evacuations are still in place for two blazes.

Meanwhile, new information is out about what caused the death of one Utah firefighter last month during California’s Mendocino Complex Fire.

Nearly three hundred names have been added to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. Occupational cancer claimed many of those lives.

Teams of people from the Mountain West, including firefighters and Red Cross volunteers, have already been deployed to the East Coast in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

The State Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would remove binding arbitration in collective bargaining cases between cities and firefighters. That is when an arbitrator rules on a dispute and both sides must accept the decision.  

Republican Dave Kinskey, the former Mayor of Sheridan, says his community has too often been forced to live with the ruling of an arbitrator who lives out of state.  

He says non-binding arbitration would lead to quicker negotiations and return accountability to local government.