Just another day for CMFES amidst a global pandemic

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. David Webster
  • 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Cheyenne Mountain Fire Emergency Services deputy fire chief

No matter the circumstances, when duty calls…our firefighters have to be ready, even during this pandemic. Cheyenne Mountain Fire Emergency Services answered the call and remained vigilant and busy with our mutual aid partners. CMFES responded to numerous emergencies during the pandemic, but two major responses stood out where conducting joint training and operations were key to successful mitigation.

The first major response was on March 25, 2020, when CMFES responded to a wildfire moving north on the Colorado State Park property. The surrounding area was fueled by wind gusts of up to 35 mph winds. A rapid mutual aid request was issued by El Paso County Dispatch to protect CMAFS. Initial response and joint command was established by Fort Carson Fire Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department, El Paso County Wildfire Team, and CMFES. All agencies battled throughout the night to contain and hold fire from breaching NORAD Rd, leading to CMAFS, an asset that is vital to our national defense. CMFES coordinated with follow-on agencies; such as, Colorado Springs Utilities Wildfire team, US Forest Service Pueblo, and the AF Wildfire Agency. CMFES maintained watch on NORAD Rd., to stop breach and extension to vulnerable Broadmoor Bluff neighborhood. Final containment achieved was on March 27, 2020, with total acreage burned estimated at 27.5 acres, 7 agencies and 78 firefighters on scene.

The second major response for CMFES was on May 2, 2020, when we responded to a structure fire located at the Cougar Bluffs Condominiums. Upon arrival, it was determined that crews had an apartment under construction with the third floor fully involved. With fire breaking through the roof, crews fought the blaze in a defensive mode. It took a total of 57 firefighters to get this fire under control, but it was contained in less than two hours.

When CMFES firefighters are not responding to emergencies or supporting mutual aid partners, their dedication to training is second-to-none. Being located inside a mountain presents CMFES firefighters with a unique technical rescue mission. CMFES personnel relentlessly explore and train on new techniques of high angle and low angle technical rescue. Most recently, CMFES crews implemented an artificial high-point to increase control of directional forces and provide optimal rope protection during rescue. Their commitment to the mission and community motivates their progressive mindset and tireless training.

During these difficult times, CMFES remains ready at the forefront in support of the CMAFS mission, dedicated mission partners, but also our surrounding communities as well to keep Colorado Springs safe.