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Annual Update 2023

  • Calls for service climbed to 155, up 30% from 2022 (see all the stats here)

  • Alarms down - ongoing business education successful

  • Low wildland activity season, but above average structure fires (size & number)

  • Turnout is back down to 3-½ - mostly daytime calls.


2023 was a busy year for Kremmling Fire and conditions indicate that our response volume will continue to grow.  It’s no surprise that the majority of our incidents occurred on the Highways.  Typically, car crashes make up about 40% of our annual call volume and 2023 was no exception.  This year we responded to 63 crashes, which is roughly double the number of crashes from 10 years ago (see Trends by Call Type).

With the high number of accidents this year, we had multiple opportunities to put our newest crash rescue tools to the test. In short, we are very happy with the performance of our tool complement and plan to continue to build our operations around high-performance battery-driven equipment.  Specifically, we worked seven extrications of patients trapped in vehicle crashes in 2023.  In these high-value, time-sensitive incidents we have been able to work quickly and effectively with a small group of firefighters in our initial response.  Overall, battery powered tools and lights are having a positive impact on the speed and mobility of fire service operations - and the people we serve are direct beneficiaries.

While the number of vehicle accidents is increasing noticeably, the number of fires we respond to has increased at a more modest pace.  However, the small overall increase in fire incidents does not tell the whole story.  2023 was unique in two ways.  First, we responded to seven structure fires this year, whereas we would normally have three or fewer.  Second, the number of wildland fires in 2023 was unusually low.  These contrasting stats illustrate the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the fire service.  Even though the historical trends suggested only a handful of structure fires and a larger number of wildland fires, such was not the case.  Nevertheless, we remain committed to readiness and effective response no matter what nature brings us in 2024.

Whether we are suppressing a house fire or an early stage grass fire, controlling the incident requires delivery of adequate water as quickly as possible.  Success in bringing quick water often makes the difference between a short-duration situation, handled by available resources and a costly, extended, multi-agency emergency.  With this principle in mind, we spent 2023 designing a new truck for Kremmling Fire that will allow a single firefighter to deliver a knock-out blow to fires before they get out of hand.  This new apparatus will be classified as a Tactical Tender, which means that it not only transports a large volume of water (in this case 2000 gal), but it also has the ability to produce a high-volume hose stream while moving (called pump and roll).  This mobile capability gives the tactical tender value on both structure and wildland fires.  What is more, we elected to equip this truck with ladders, airpacks, a high-capacity fire pump, and supply hose to support a more complete structure fire response.  Ultimately, our new tactical tender, called Engine-413, will replace our current reserve engine, but will have increased usability for wildland fires as well.  As of this writing, Engine-413 is scheduled to arrive in July of 2025.

On the topic of wildland fires; as I mentioned already, 2023 was a very low activity fire season, much like the 2022 season before it.  Grand County fire agencies have been using these slower seasons to promote hazard reduction and individual property mitigation in our high risk communities.  Nevertheless, we are always watching the weather and fuel conditions for our wildfire season here in the west.  Even though we have had a reprieve from the dry and windy weather, wildfire is part of our ecosystem and we must all continue to build resilience and response capability into our communities.

One final operational metric that is very important to us is the number of responders that roll out in the first truck(s).  In 2023 the average turnout is back down to 3.5 firefighters.  This number reflects a few different aspects of our organization and the services we provide to the community.  First, the number of volunteers available to respond has not grown.  We held a new member orientation with four folks, but only a single new firefighter stuck with us into 2024.  Second, nearly all of our volunteers leave Kremmling to work during the day - volunteers can no longer leave work to respond to calls in the same way that they could a generation ago.  Finally, roughly 70% of our calls for service take place between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.  The upshot is that the first truck out the door has fewer firefighters in it.  This reduction in volunteer numbers and availability is not unique to us; volunteer agencies across the country are working to overcome similar challenges.  Here in Kremmling, we added a staff position in 2022 to offset the weekday deficit of responders.  While this step has had a positive impact on our operations, we - like most of Grand County’s first responders - are working to implement new ways to attract, train, and retain qualified firefighters for the future.

As always, we are grateful for the support we receive from our  community and local businesses.  More importantly, I encourage you to thank your local volunteer firefighter and their family.  Without these folks we could not do what we do.

  • Chief Tucker

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