Mail carrier stops wildfire
Bob Trujillo was delivering mail near Genesee, Colorado in August when he discovered a wildfire near a home. Since he had no cell phone service he went to a nearby house and asked the residents to call 911. While a woman at the house made the call, her husband joined Mr. Trujllo while he constructed a fire line around the fire.
A Sheriff’s deputy arrived and helped the men until the fire department arrived.
“When I arrived there was a lot of smoke but not much fire due to the line that Robert built around the fire,” the deputy wrote in his report. “The wind was blowing out of the South East at about 10 miles an hour with strong gusts.”
This week, Mr. Trujillo was honored with a Postmaster General’s “Hero’s Award”, Jefferson County Commissioners honored him with a Citizen’s Coin, and Foothills Fire Chief Brian Zoril presented him with a fireman’s helmet.
Washington state pays wealthy landowner following wildfire
A controversy is developing in the state of Washington after it was discovered that after the Carlton Complex of Fires that burned 300 homes and 256,108 acres, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) paid nearly $2 million to one of the wealthiest landowners in Okanogan County.
Below are some excerpts from an article at King5:
…The taxpayer funded payment was reimbursement to Gebbers Farms, owner of one of the largest fruit orchards in the world.
Gebbers was paid for equipment and personnel that it used to fight fire, mostly on its own privately-owned property.
DNR says the payment was appropriate, because Gebbers was able to launch a large scale assault on the fire in coordination with public agencies fighting the wildfire.
DNR regional manager Loren Torgerson said the so-called “fire control contract” is the same kind of arrangement the agency uses when hiring contractors to fight fires.
Records show Gebbers was reimbursed $209,000 for salaries for its orchard workers and managers for 19 days of firefighting. It was paid $680,000 for the use of heavy equipment. And $435,000 was paid for at least four helicopters that Gebbers leased.
There’s evidence that the Gebbers property fared much better than neighboring properties.
A satellite image taken in the days after the fire shows a large, circular scar of burned vegetation. In the middle is a green patch that is mostly Gebbers property.
One of the family’s friends also happens to be the man who runs the DNR – lands commissioner Peter Goldmark.
“I knew the late Danny Gebbers – yes,” Goldmark said when KING 5 asked about his association with the family.
Danny Gebbers was the elderly family patriarch who died after he suffered an injury in a fall during the Carlton Complex Fire.
Like the Gebbers, Goldmark is a ranch owner and one of the largest landowners in Okanogan County.
But he says his relationship with them, the political contributions they have made to his campaigns over the years, had no bearing on DNR’s decision to reimburse Gebbers.