Steamboat firefighters battling wildfire in southern Colorado |

Steamboat firefighters battling wildfire in southern Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS— Three Steamboat Springs firefighters are fighting the Sambrito Creek Fire south of Durango.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters Leighton White, Chris Welch and Matt Mathisen left Sunday afternoon, taking with them one of the agency’s two brush trucks.

They could remain on the fire until Aug. 20, said Fire Chief Mel Stewart.

Stewart said Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue makes resources available to other agencies when they have staff willing to go, enough firefighters to fill roles at home and when local demand for crews and equipment isn’t putting a strain on the agency.

“With the rain we had the last few days, our fire risk has gone down,” he said. “We feel like our wildfire risk has dropped enough that we were OK sending one brush truck.”

The brush truck and crew were made available to other agencies Sunday morning. By the afternoon, they were dispatched to the Sambrito Creek Fire.

Sending crews to other agencies helps generate revenue for the fire protection district, as cooperating agencies pay for Steamboat’s services, Stewart said.

“We try to help each other out, and we like being able to say ‘Yeah, we can come and send out a crew to help you,’” Stewart explained. “It also gets our crew good experience actually getting out and working with fire, and they enjoy doing it. They get to use their skills doing it.”

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter, @elHasenbeck.

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