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Sep 25, 2013 9:47 AM by Maddie Garrett

Donation helps Black Forest Fire Dept. be better prepared

The Black Forest Fire Department not only lost some of it's equipment in the massive wildfire this summer, but the chief said they are still severely under-prepared for another wildfire of that magnitude.

The department is hoping a recent donation will change all that. On Tuesday, they received a $60,000 check and a new piece of equipment from the Gary Sinise Foundation, which had teamed up with local company Josh Cellar Wines.

The donation is meant to help make a difference at the Black Forest Fire Department and in the community.

"(They wanted) to focus on the donation being for first responders and this year they asked, find a good cause that really needs some help after this and we decided to contact Black Forest Fire Department," said Gary Sinise Foundation spokesperson, Veronica Destefano.

The money will be used to replenish the firefighters' gear and send some of them to special wildfire training.

"The forest is getting older by the day, the forest is getting more volatile by the minute," said Fire Chief Bob Harvey. "And so that's what we're trying to do is design for the future in home-hardening, our suppression tactics and our ability to respond to the incident."

In addition to the money, the department is also excited about the new piece of equipment that will be used specifically for fire mitigation in the community. It can not only quickly remove brush, but dig fire lines much faster.

Chief Harvey said the fire not only depleted the department's funds, but it also lowered property values, which means they're receiving less money from taxes. He explained that without the outside help, they wouldn't have been able to afford this kind of fire mitigation.

"It's already provided a significant level of inventory of safety equipment and firefighter gear," said Harvey. "It's crucial to expanding services."

Harvey also said they've received help from individuals and the community in re-supplying the department, which has been a big help in the recovery process.

 

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