On February 21, 2019, during the conference for Colorado Emergency Management Association (CEMA) Baca County’s Emergency Manager, Jennifer Leathers, was awarded the 2018 Emergency Manager of the Year award for the Southeast All-Hazards Region. Jennifer faced many challenges in 2018, including the Stateline and Badger Hole fires last spring. Jennifer has been a great asset to Baca County. Congratulations to Jennifer on this much deserved recognition!
The Baca County Sheriff’s office would like to remind the community that we are under a county wide burn ban. Conditions are extremely dry and will take massive amounts of rainfall over extended time to make it safe to burn. Please use extreme caution when outside working on equipment or other activities that could cause sparks.
Walsh, CO – On April 19, the Badger Hole Fire is considered to be at 100 percent containment. There are, however, still some hot spots within the fire perimeter. The Southeast Colorado Power Association has announced that all power has been restored to residential properties. There were 70 firefighters and 15 personnel assigned to work the fire today. The crews focused on fire suppression and assessing and compiling a list of the loss and damage sustained. With life safety always being the number one priority in incident response, we are happy to report that there have been no lives lost, and no serious injuries sustained.
Spike Ausmus, Chairman, Baca County Board of County Commissioners, “We want to sincerely thank the community members, organizations, businesses, and farmers and ranchers that gave their time, skills, and in-kind donations to assist with this fire. We appreciate that our county staff, especially the road and bridge crews, have put in significant amount of work over the last several days. We are also very grateful for the resources that arrived from around the state to assist our community. While this fire is one of the largest disasters this community has ever faced, we know that we will rebuild, and be better, stronger and more resilient than we were before.”
The fire crews and other personnel from around the state were provided as part of an agreement with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM). The DFPC also provided Multi-Mission Aircraft, which provide intelligence such as the fire perimeter, hot spot and acreage size, as well as sent an agency administrator to assist with the incident.
Jerry Casebolt, Southeast Colorado All-Hazards Region said, “Because of the complexity of this incident, a Type 3 All-Hazards Incident Management Team was requested through DHSEM. We are incredibly thankful that the team helped us manage and document the incident, and provided us examples of best practices, which will better prepare our community for future large incidents.
For those wishing to make a monetary donation for recovery efforts related to the Badger Hole Fire, you may do so at Frontier Bank, located at 501 N. Colorado Street, P.O. Box 99, Walsh, CO 81090. Please make checks payable to: Southeast Emergency Preparedness Alliance with “Walsh Fire Recovery” in the memo line.
The American Legion Post #48 Jake Reigel’s parking lot, located at 200 S. Colorado Street, Walsh, is the designated collection point for all agriculture-related donations such as feed and fencing supplies. Contact the Baca County Sheriff’s Office at 719.523.6677 to make an agriculture donation and someone will be sent to assist in the unloading and organizing.
The Badger Hole Fire began early in the afternoon on April 17, and is located in eastern Baca County and western Kansas. Another flyover from the MMA has updated the estimated total acreage burned. In Colorado 33,609 acres have burned and in Kansas 17,249 acres have burned, for a total of 50,858 acres. Multiple homes, outbuildings, livestock, and infrastructure losses have been reported.
Checks may be mailed to:
501 N. Colorado Street
P.O. Box 99
Walsh, CO 81090
(719)324-5206You can also stop by the bank and donate or make a transfer over the phone.
Type 3 Incident Management Team
Carrie Haverfield, Public Information Officer
Most recently, Baca County has dealt with a second large fire (the Badger Hole Fire); this one under extremely windy conditions. Response from crews far and wide helped battle this blaze. Many firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and volunteers from many agencies were available to fight this monster.
The Board of County Commissioners want to express its thanks to all these responders, and to give a large shout out to its Road and Bridge crews. These men spent many hours using their knowledge operating equipment needed to help battle this blaze. Their tireless efforts helped with the containment and is very much appreciated.
This fire was in Commissioner Ausmus’ district (District 1); however, the crews from all three districts were on hand to help. Thank you all for a job well done!
As of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, most recent totals of the Badger Hole Fire, which began April 17 in the early hours of the afternoon and is located in eastern Baca County and western Kansas, is 48,455 acres, with 33,384 acres in Colorado and 15,026 acres in Kansas; it is currently 85 percent contained. Multiple homes and outbuildings have been lost; livestock losses are being reported but verified numbers were not available at time of this release. Those who have lost livestock or property should document all losses with location details and photographic evidence.
There are now 31 agencies, involving over 100 personnel including command staff and a 30-man hand crew. A new command team arrived to relieve local command staff. Southeast Colorado Power Association is working feverishly to restore power to those affected.
The Baca County Salvation Army Service Extension Unit has established a comfort station and is providing nourishment for responders. The American Red Cross is assisting displaced homeowners and anyone needing help can contact them at the Walsh Wesleyan Church, 43000 US Highway 160, Walsh Colorado, 719.324.5500.
Those wishing to make a monetary donation for recovery efforts related to the Badger Hole Fire, may do so at the Frontier Bank, P.O. Box 99, Walsh, CO, 81090, 719.324.5200. Make checks payable to: Southeast Emergency Preparedness Alliance with “Walsh Fire Recovery” in the memo line.
The parking lot of the American Legion Post #48 in Walsh Colorado is the designated collection point for all agriculture-related donations such as feed and fencing supplies. Contact the Baca County Sheriff’s office (719.523.6677) to make an agriculture donation and someone will be sent to assist in the unloading and organizing.
The Badger Hole Fire began early afternoon on April 17, 2018; located in eastern Baca County and western Kansas. As of 10:00 a.m. on April 18, 2018, total estimated acreage burned was 48,415; 29,050 acres in Colorado and 19,360 acres in Kansas and is currently 35 percent contained. Multiple homes and outbuildings have been lost; livestock losses are unknown at this time. On April 17, 2018, 26 agencies actively engaged fighting the fire into the early morning hours. Currently, 19 agencies, involving 120 personnel including command staff are working to contain the fire. A new command team will arrive early this afternoon to relieve local command staff who have been working tirelessly since the beginning of the incident. There have been no fatalities, however, two responders have been treated for injuries, and one local resident sought private medical treatment for injuries sustained while trying to protect property.
Download: Badger Hole Fire – Press Release
We have started using a service called Swift911 to send out alerts by phone in emergencies to Baca County residents. You can sign up to be notified of upcoming emergencies like wildfires and blizzards. We recommend signing up so you do not get caught off guard in an emergency.
More info and signup here: Baca County – Swift911
Fire season is upon us again, and the risk of grass fires increases greatly as spring brings warmer, dryer weather. Grass fires endanger property, lives, and livelihoods across the county, and we are very grateful to our volunteer firefighters for protecting our communities!
Volunteering goes beyond bunker gear, many of our farmers and ranchers volunteer equipment and water access which is a vital role in fighting fires across our county. The Walsh Ambulance Service has purchased a program that includes the ability to map resources countywide, including fire resources. This will assist all agencies across the county during fire season or any other fire incident by providing a centralized list of county-owned resources as well as resources offered by our citizens. This may include water access such as irrigation wells, stock tanks, pools, water tanks, cisterns, or any other water source. We also need access to heavy equipment that could be used in creating fire breaks or otherwise assisting in fire suppression. Any information provided will help us keep our county safe from fire.
If you would like to contribute to the resources available to our responders, we have enabled messaging on our Baca County Sheriff’s Facebook page to streamline the process. Please provide your name and phone number, water resource, heavy equipment type, and location where these items can be found. We will contact you should we need to use your water or equipment and you can opt out at any time. You can also call us at 719.523.4511 or email the information to us at email@example.com .
Conditions are critical at this time and any effort you can make around your property to reduce fire fuels will aid in our efforts to fight fires throughout our county.
Download this document: Sheriff’s Letter – Fire Season