GJFD Wildland Team Deployed to Sunshine Fire Near Boulder

At 0600 this morning a Grand Junction Fire Department Wildland Team arrived at the Sunshine Fire located just west of Boulder, CO. Equipped with GJFD Brush Engine Four, firefighters Michael Cox, Billy Reyez, Jacob Long, and Burt Dole will be joining 178 other firefighters in combating the 62-acre fire that started in the early hours of Sunday Morning. Thus far the Sunshine Fire has caused the evacuation of 426 homes, with no reported damage or injuries. At the time of this release the fire is reported to be 50% contained, with crews working and defending homes. The GJFD crew has been assigned to cut fire lines with a larger crew of 20 firefighters and help put out hot spots along the way.

The Grand Junction Fire Department Wildland Team is a local resource with national capabilities. When incidents in other parts of the country need our help, we are able to send a local team at no cost to our community. These deployments add experience and expertise to our department when we encounter wildland or urban-interface fires in our own back yard.

Dry windy conditions throughout Colorado have made for a busy early season for wildland fires. In the Grand Valley over the weekend, agencies responded to a total of 20 brush fires, most of which were caused by human activities. Controlled burning, illegal burning, sparking machinery, recreational shooting, and travel-related sparks from metal dragging on the road are just some of the causes of wildfires.

The Grand Junction Fire Department would like to remind residents that fire danger remains high. If you are planning a burn, it is best to burn in the early morning when winds are calm. Always be ready to extinguish a fire in case it gets out of control.

For the latest information on the Sunshine fire visit http://www.boulderoem.com/emergency-status/.

For local weather including red flag warnings, visit www.weather.gov.

For questions about burn permits call (970)549-5800.

Dry Windy Conditions Cause Brush Fire Calls to Soar

Today, a hazardous weather advisory warns of increasing winds and dry conditions that could cause fires to spread quickly. If you’ve bought a permit and are planning a controlled burn, or if you’re outside working with machinery that could cause sparks, be aware of the conditions, and always be ready to extinguish a fire.

The Grand Junction Fire Department recommends conducting your controlled burn in the early mornings when winds are calm. Spokesperson Ellis Thompson-Ellis said, “We generally see winds increasing in the early afternoon and evening here that can spread fire very quickly.” Residents can check www.weather.gov for the latest up-to-date information on fire danger, including red flag warnings which prohibit burning of any kind.

Due to these persisting conditions in the Grand Valley, brush fire calls are up from last year. For the month of March, the Grand Junction Fire Department is on-pace to see nearly three times as many brush fires as last year. Yesterday, between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Mesa County saw 15 brush fires, with up to six occurring simultaneously. Those 15 fires involved 11 different fire agencies, with 71 fire vehicles responding. Thompson-Ellis said, “The whole valley is very busy right now. We need people to exercise extreme caution, especially when conducting controlled burns. Have experienced people assist you and be ready to put out a fire in case it gets out of control.”

At one of the fires yesterday, two homes were in immediate danger and had to be evacuated. Fortunately, no one was harmed and no structures were damaged. With these conditions residents can increase the safety of their homes by clearing away underbrush, shrubbery, and trees that grow directly next to their homes. In the event of a fire, having a clear perimeter around your home allows the fire department to better protect your property.

Controlled burning with a permit is allowed through April 30th. Permitted burning must be 50 feet from property lines, and only contain materials less than one inch in diameter. Residents in the City of Grand Junction can call (970)549-5800 for burn permit information. All residents outside the City of Grand Junction can contact the Mesa County Health Department for burn permit information at (970)248-6900.


Veteran Fire Engine Finds New Life in the Grand Valley


A former Grand Junction Fire Department apparatus has found a new home in the Grand Valley and will continue to be put to good use in our community. East Orchard Mesa (EOM) Fire Department recently won a bid to purchase a 2000 E-One Cyclone Engine from the City of Grand Junction.

EOM Training Officer Dane Van Loon said the upgrade will help bring the volunteer department into the future, “The engine we have now is a 1989 model, with this new engine we are moving our department forward by over a decade.” Van Loon said the new apparatus is not only an upgrade in technology, but it will broaden the capacity of the fire department to be able to tackle wildland and urban interface fires, carry gear more efficiently, and provide safer technology for the volunteer firefighters.

The engine served the Grand Junction Fire Department for over 16 years. Chief Ken Watkins said, “It’s good to see an apparatus stay in the valley. This investment continues to protect people in our community, and I’m glad that East Orchard Mesa Fire Department can make that happen.”

As the City of Grand Junction updates equipment, aging technology is auctioned off. This year, six pieces of apparatus and equipment from GJFD went to auction. Of all of the equipment, only one hose dryer and the engine mentioned above went to other Fire Departments in the Grand Valley.

The EOM Fire Department is a non-profit all volunteer department, hosting about 10 volunteer firefighters. While the purchase of the engine is a great advancement for the department, it is one that doesn’t come very often. “Most of our equipment is donated. While this engine is really exciting for our department, we still have a long way to go to upgrade protective equipment for our personnel.” If you would like to know more about the department, or if you are interested in volunteering, visit www.eastorchardmesafire.org.


Above: EOM Training Officer Dane Van Loon, GJFD Fire Chief Ken Watkins, and EOM Firefighter Zach Kissell celebrate the transfer of the engine to East Orchard Mesa Fire Department.

Learn Before You Burn: Grand Junction Fire Department Now Issuing Open Burning Permits


As of today, the Grand Junction Fire Department will begin selling burn permits for the Spring burn season. The burn permits are valid for open burning between March 1st and April 30th,2017.  With the new Burn Ordinance passed by City Council, this open burning season and associated burn permits will differ from previous burn seasons.

Measures of the new ordinance and burn permits issued by GJFD apply only to properties in the City of Grand Junction. Grand Junction Rural Fire Protection District, outlying rural areas, and other parts of Mesa County will receive their burn permits and guidelines through the Mesa County Health Department permit system.

Changes to the City Burn Ordinance and burn permits issued by GJFD:

-Open burn permits will be issued to persons in the city limits with properties equal to or greater than one acre in size.

-Persons with properties smaller than one acre may only apply for permits to conduct open burning for the purpose of maintaining connected irrigation ditches or laterals.

-Open burning that does not meet the above criteria is prohibited.

-Once a property owner receives a permit, open burning must take place at least 50 feet from property lines, structures, fences, dwellings, or places where people gather.

Reminders about burn permits issued by GJFD:

-Should a fire ban or red flag warning be issued, all burning is prohibited, even with issued permits.

-Materials used for open burning may not be larger than one inch in diameter.

-Materials that may not be burned include treated, stained, or painted wood, household waste, rubber, tires, insulated wire, batteries, cars, asbestos containing materials, tar-containing materials, and railroad ties.

To learn how to determine if you qualify for a permit visit https://youtu.be/kfPYWhhoIYk.

To read the newly adopted Burn Ordinance see http://trimview.gjcity.org/?=ord/9510.

For residents with questions, feel free to call us at (970)549-5800.

More Opportunities to Learn Hands-Only CPR With GJFD


This week the Grand Junction Fire Department is expanding offerings for free hands-only CPR courses in Mesa County. Spokesperson Ellis Thompson-Ellis said, “We have a free community event this Friday at 6:00 PM at the Clifton Fire Station. The class is about 30 minutes and anyone can register at www.cprisfree.com.”

 As part of the program’s expansion, the GJFD will also be teaching courses this week at a Rotary Club and local high schools including Grand Junction High School and R-5. Thompson-Ellis said, “Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to people of any age; children and young adults are no exception. We want to give everyone in our community the tools they need to help save a life.” 

If you ever have to give CPR, the chances of it being a loved one are high. Of the 350,000 cardiac arrests that happen out of a hospital each year, about 70% of those occur at the home. Hands-only CPR courses with the Grand Junction Fire Department give you the skills and confidence you need to effectively respond to cardiac emergencies. With regards to the class Thompson-Ellis said, “While the topic of life or death decisions is very serious, our classes are a lot of fun and very interactive. We teach using disco music, hands-on practice, and humor to get our point across.”

The Grand Junction Fire Department also offers to bring this class to local businesses, clubs, and other organizations. To schedule a class for your organization call (970)549-5858 or for more information on the program visit http://bit.ly/2kjwDuY.


GJFD Offers Hope for Families with Children Interested in Fireplay


The Grand Junction Fire Department offers many outreach services to our community. One of the lesser-known services, our Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program, provides assessment and education for children and families experiencing fireplay or fire curiosity.

Scott Myers, GJFD intervention specialist, said, “Any type of fireplay in children is dangerous. Children can’t control fire, and often experiment while they are unsupervised which can lead to dangerous situations. This is not a phase that they simply grow out of.”

Myers said, “When someone is concerned with a child’s fireplay, they can contact us for support. Essentially we reach out to the family to provide a short assessment of their risk and provide education for the child and the family about choices, consequences, and home safety.”

Parents who have children as young as one should be cautious about household items. Lighters and matches can often seem like toys to children who seek to imitate adults. All fire-starting materials should be kept secure and out of reach of children at all times. Parents can also teach children to report all found matches and lighters to an adult immediately.

Myers said, “If a family needs resources beyond what the Fire Department can provide, we can refer them to the right services for their needs.”

If you would like more information about the Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program, or would like to report a concern you have about a child’s fire curiosity, contact the GJFD Community Outreach Office at (970)549-5858 or by e-mail at gjfdpio@gjcity.org.

GJFD Responds to Fire at Single-Family Residence


The Grand Junction Fire Department responded at 18:49 this evening to reports of a fire at a single-family residence in the 2000 Block of North Ave.

Upon arriving at the scene one patient was immediately transported to the hospital for injuries and fire crews began working to extinguish the fire. Early on it was discovered that one dog was still inside the home. Crews were able to rescue the animal and extinguish the fire quickly.

The extent of the damage is unknown, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Updates will be posted as they are available.

The Grand Junction Fire Department would like to remind the community that smoke detectors and emergency evacuation plans save lives. Replace the batteries in your detectors twice per year, and practice your emergency evacuation drill with your family and pets regularly.