For over 50 years Colorado Mountain College has been training first responders. The college’s commitment continues this week, as firefighter trainees from CMC’s Fire Academy receive hands-on experience inside the Dotsero Training Facility with live fire near the 32,000-acre Grizzly Creek Fire.
The center is housed in a large vertical building that sits north of I-70 on the east side of Glenwood Canyon.
“With the Grizzly Creek Fire being so close to where our training is being held, it is important for our trainees to learn the importance of structure protection and how to apply it to their communities,” said Zak Miller, CMC’s college-wide fire science program coordinator based at CMC Vail Valley at Edwards.
Motorists traveling along I-70 may see smoke and fire as a result of this training, which is under strict guidelines and will be permitted to only burn in the center’s non-combustible building with favorable weather conditions.
Due to the increase in fire starts, drought conditions and a statewide fire ban, the college needed approval from Gypsum Fire and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office to allow the fire academy to train with live fire in the facility.
“It’s the goal of Colorado Mountain College to put as many firefighters as possible into departments to help fight these fires,” said Miller.
The college also offers firefighting instruction in Leadville and Rifle.
“Colorado Mountain College prides itself on providing education to better serve our communities and to do it in a safe manner,” Miller said.
Live structure fire training will be held sporadically through fall semester, from Sept. 9-Dec. 11. For questions about the Dotsero Training Facility, contact Zak Miller at email@example.com. For more information about the CMC Fire Academy visit https://coloradomtn.edu/programs/fire-academy/.