The firefighter that was burned after being entrapped on the Heartstrong fire in northeastern Colorado on March 18 is in a burn center in Greeley, Colorado. Jennifer Struckmeyer is being treated in the Western States Burn Center at North Colorado Medical Center for 3rd degree burns.
On Monday when we heard that a firefighter was hospitalized with burn injuries we notified the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), a non-profit organization that provides assistance to firefighters and their families after accidents or fatalities on wildfires. Today we talked with Vicki Minor, the Executive Director and founder of the WFF, who told us that Ms. Struckmeyer is listed in critical condition and that the burn injuries to her feet and hands are of the most concern. Thankfully she does not have any respiratory damage, but is expected to be in the hospital for four to six weeks. The WFF has contacted her family and offered the services that they can provide.
Firefighters with the Greeley Fire Department are also assisting the family, giving them some gift cards and taking them out to dinner. Along with the WFF, the Greeley FD folks also provided a great deal of assistance to the family of Austin Whitney, one of the firefighters that was burned on the Coal Canyon fire in South Dakota in August, 2011 who was also treated at the Greeley Burn Center. His fellow crew member, Trampus Haskvitz, was killed during that burn over.
If you are wondering how you can help Ms. Struckmeyer, or other firefighters that are seriously injured on a wildfire, consider making a donation to the WFF. They do great work for injured firefighters and their families. A few weeks ago I re-upped my membership in the 52 Club, a $52 donation which represents a dollar for each week of the year.
These two photos were taken by Tony Rayl of the Yuma Pioneer on March 18, the day the fire started, and are used here with his permission.
The photos remind me of one that was taken in Australia in 2009 that we turned into a caption contest.