Firefighting decisions create minor inconveniences

Thu, Jun 28, 2012


For those of us who live or work along Garden of the Gods Road, the continued closure of that crucial artery seems a little like overkill. The fire appears to have moved on, and yet thousands of folks between Centennial and 30th are in limbo, unable to get to their jobs, their homes, or maybe both.

I asked a senior city official why the road is still closed.

“We didn’t close it,” he said, “that’s the Feds.”

The firefighting effort is under unified command. Rich Harvey is the incident commander, whose team effectively governs the northwestern quadrant of Colorado Springs.

The structure of “Great Basin Team 2” would be familiar to anyone who has served in the military.

Wednesday’s Day Operational Plan runs to dozens of pages, including general procedures (“All incoming vehicles and contract equipment will report to the Ground Support Unit to receive parking area assignments, inspection, and “E” or an “O” number on the window.”), incident objectives (“Express clear and concise leader’s intent in strategic and tactical objectives and directions for this incident.”), and organization assignment lists (“Air operations branch-air attack supervisor.”) and abbreviations incomprehensible to civilians (“Strike Team HC21A;MNICS #2 C-27, 7/9”).

To me, this brisk bureaucratese is reassuring, not infuriating. It means that smart, careful people have been preparing and implementing such action plans for many years. If GoG road is closed, it’s closed for a good reason. Maybe they need to stage fire apparatus, or control access to the fire zone, or minimize risk in some other way.

So maybe complaining about apparently unnecessary closures is both foolish and unseemly. Tens of thousands have been displaced, hundreds have lost their homes, and a thousand firefighters are doing their best to save our bacon.

Minor inconveniences are just that-minor.



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