Wednesday, October 7, 2015

25 years of legal gambling here in Cripple Creek

While it may be true as Ambrose Bierce said, that the gambling known as business —  looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling. But over the last quarter century here in Colorado, the gambling business has prospered. Colorado voters made that decision one cold, snowy Tuesday almost 25 years ago.
"Despite a snow storm that left roads icy and snowy, Teller County residents and residents statewide came out to vote for Amendment 4. The amendment allows $5 bets on black jack and poker and slot machines in businesses housed in historic buildings in Cripple Creek, Central City and Blackhawk," wrote Courier editor Ruth Zirkle at the time.
"The amendment won big in Teller County with a 70 percent margin. Cripple Creek and Victor precincts approved the amendment two to one. Statewide, the last results before press time early Wednesday morning were 56 percent for, to 44 percent against." the Courier reported Thursday, November 6, 1990.
"While city officials are working to beat problems before they occur and make sure things go more smoothly than they did in Deadwood, S.D., one year ago, business deals are booming, buildings are selling, and owners are making plans for gambling halls"
"A group from Deadwood, S.D., was at the gathering Saturday night and they already have plans for two buildings purchased earlier this fall. The Orange Door and the Theater of Time next door will be restored and run as gambling-related businesses.
In addition, at least two Cripple Creek business owners plans for gambling. Steve Makin and the Imperial Hotel already has plans for 'back room' gambling at the Imperial and former Teller County Commissioner June Fuhlrodt of Victor, announced plans for cafe/bar/gambling parlour at 100 Bennett Avenue, the location of her present antique store."
"And while new businesses are being planned, at least one business owner hopes to wash his hands of Cripple Creek and gambling. Clive and Diane Smith, who own two buildings and three houses, put 'for sale' signs in their windows Wednesday morning," reported Zirkle.
"It won't do any good for my store. I would have to put in slots or a bar," said Smith. He and his wife run a fine gift store and don't think people interested in gambling won't be interested in fine gifts. If the Smiths can get the price they want from the buildings they will sell."
Amendment 4, legalizing gambling, results in Teller County at the time were 3,301 votes approving the measure and 1,384 rejecting it. Statewide 574,620 voted for the measure, and 428,096 voted against, about a 57 percent to 42 percent spread, when all the totals were in.
Limited gaming began in Colorado on October 1, 1991, with a total of 11 casinos open statewide, according to the 2013 Factbook and Abstract by the Colorado Division of Gaming.
Colorado had its greatest number of casinos in November 1992, with 76 operating statewide.
At the 22‐year mark on October 1, 2013, there were 39 gaming establishments open in Colorado, a number that has remained fairly constant for several years, with the annual number averaging between 39 and 41 casinos since 2008.   Gross revenues generated by casinos on a monthly basis have increased from nearly $8.4 million during the first month of operation to a high of more than $76.5 million in July 2007.  During the first 22 years of gaming in Colorado, casinos paid nearly $1.8 billion in gaming tax revenues to the state on $13.3 billion in adjusted gross revenues. That money has been used to fund state historical restoration projects, community colleges, mitigate the impacts to state and local governments caused by gaming, and finance on‐going regulation of the gaming industry, according to the Division of Gaming.
On November 4, 2008, Colorado voters approved Amendment 50, which gave the electorate in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek the option to approve 24‐hour gaming, adding the games of craps and/or roulette, and raising the maximum wager limit up to $100.   The amendment required additional state revenues generated by the changes to be distributed to community colleges and to the gaming towns and counties. Amendment 50 also required voter approval for any increase in gaming tax rates beyond the rates and levels in place as of July 1, 2008. Voters in all three towns approved the changes for casinos in their communities, and the changes went into effect July 2, 2009.
This year, Cripple Creek decided to allow the serving of alcohol around the clock.


Photo Information: Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek in 1957, before legalized gambling.  Photo by Chalmers Butterfield.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Discovery, marking unknown in local cemetery

Existence is all about discovery, knowing the unknown. The longer one lives, the more mysterious life seems. The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear, is fear of the unknown.
Here in Monument, as in all over, the local cemetery helps us mark an existence, capture a passing, pay respect. If you think about it, it is a part of our life, as much as it is a part of loved one's death.
For at least five years, volunteer John Howe and others, have been working on a project at the Monument Cemetery.
"I started working on the paperwork, trying to get the files in order more than five years ago," Howe said last week in the cemetery. "It was a fool's errand. Impossible. So many have worked on it over the years, and there is so much time passed. So many unknowns."
To be a little more precise, Howe, who is also on the Monument Board of Trustees,  and others have identified and labeled 189 unknowns — possible graves that names cannot be attached. They used technology to identify that something is there, underground.
"I would love to know their history," he said. "Some of them are a real mystery." 
He cited uncontrollable instances, such as the train wreck in 1895, where someone might have needed buried locally, without the burial party knowing for sure, who was committed to earth.
In most cases, when there was a question, and when technology was able to tell them something was there, they tried to mark the spaces in some manner. Many have temporary plaster of Paris markers that are subject to the ravages of time and weather. 
Other temporary and permanent markers can become buried, or displaced by growing turf, blowing dirt, vegetation and trees and bushes and even maintenance.
"It is supposed to be perpetual care, but it is difficult, as time passes."
The oldest grave that Howe knows of, is near the center of the cemetery, and is attributed to Alonzo Welty, for 1860. The Welty family (including another Alonzo), were later well-known in the Cripple Creek district.
A wealth of local history resides within the boundaries of the Monument Cemetery, with sprinkling of names like Noe, Lavelett, Pettigrew, and Gossage, and McShane. The five acres were donated by C.R. Bissell in 1886, but burials occurred there long before that. Approximately only 150 plots remain there, and 15 in crematory garden.
It is well-visited by family and friends of the deceased. 
"About 80 percent of the time when I'm here, someone else is too. They come from all over, Wyoming, Kansas, points East. One local guy comes here every day," Howe said.

Photo information:  
Top photo: Recent tree thinning and maintenance is evident in the midst of the cemetary.

Photo 2: Disrepair and damaged stones is an ongoing problem.

Photo 3: Howe points to a rich history that exists among the markers.

Photo 4: Historic ironwork surrounds some graves but can make maintenance difficult.

Photo 5: Unknown graves are, in some cases, are marked by plaster of Paris temporary makers.

Photo 6: Alonzo Welty's grave is the oldest known burial located near the center of the cemetery.

Photo 7: Another unknown grave suffers the ravages of time and weather.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fear of fire like no other

Ghosts, connected to fire, manifest a fear like no other.
 When the first terrible fire broke out in Cripple Creek on a frigid, windy night April 29, 1896, six shots, fired in rapid succession rang out. It was the signal for a town lacking the traditional fire bell.
 A reservoir, half full and the rest frozen almost solid, was not much help when the volunteer firefighters arrived almost immediately.
"So rapid was the progress of the flames that the people soon became panic-stricken and chaos ensued. Teams of horses and mules were lashed up and down the streets by excited men; people with bundles and papers were rushing pell-mell to the northward; shouts, the booming of flames, the crashing of falling timbers following the explosion of dynamite, all made one ominous, unintelligible roar," reported papers at the time.
 The echos of that terrible sound were heard again on March 4, 1977, when a fire of unknown origin began in the Grubstake Hotel (formerly the 50-room Masonic Hall) and known as the Welty Block. Frozen fire hydrants again frustrated volunteer's efforts to douse the flames. Newspapers at the time reported that one wall was dynamited.
Jan MacKell, in her book "Cripple Creek: Last of Colorado's Gold Booms," described the stories that began to emerge afterward.
"Interestingly, one of dozens of ghost stories about Cripple Creek surfaced in the wake of the Welty Block fire. When the wall collapsed, a spiraling column of flames shot upward as at least two firemen heard a woman's screams from inside the empty building. One of them was volunteer Ed Grosh, who swore he heard a woman's voice calling out, 'I'm free! I'm free at last!' In the years since the fire, more and more stories have emerged about the old Welty Block being haunted before its demise. Some even swore the say the apparition of a woman floating through the smoke. As for June Hack, all he saw after the fire were four donkeys standing at the burned out door of his grocery and looking at the ruins with quizzical expressions. 'That fire devastated us and them,' he said."
Chas S. Clifton, in his 1983 book "Ghost Tales of Cripple," says there were earlier stories.
"For years before the fire, the Welty Block was owned by Ray and Marilyn McLeod, he a former 'crack' gold miner, although it had been sold sometime before it burned. 'Lots of spooky things,' went onin the building, Mrs. McLeod avers — a feeling not shared by the former owners of the grocery store, who say their premises were undisturbed... She tells of almost nightly encounters with 'spooks,' and how something shook her bedframe while her dog growled at the invisible intruder,"reported Clifton.
"I was scared to death half the time we lived there," he quotes Marilyn McLeod.
Guests at the former hotel also reported hearing mysterious footsteps in the corridors, and several claimed they spotted an apparition of a woman in turn-of-the-century clothing 'like Lilliam Russell, the actress."
Crews from Victor and Cripple Creek both battled that night to try and save the Welty Block with the Victor contingent on the street side and Cripple Creek department in the alley.
Longtime district mainstay Ray Drake, who was on the Victor crew. Clifton reports, "After the walls had fallen and the battle to save the Welty Block was clearly lost, Drake said, one of the Cripple Creek men, someone who hadn't lived too long in the District, came up to him. 'Someone died in there,' the fireman swore, 'I heard screaming.'"
Drake knew the building's history — and he also knew its apartments were uninhabited, the gas and electicity turned off.
Ed Grosh, a member of the Cripple Creek Volunteer Fire Department that night who was later contacted by Clifton at his new home of Inyokern, California, reported what he heard that night as the rear wall and roof collapsed, sending a vortex of flame spurting hundreds of feet in the air.
Swearing that he heard a woman scream, but not for help.
"I'm free! I'm free at last," is what Grosh said he heard.
Fire conjures a fear like no other.
Photo Information: Welty Block in early 1970s, during a Donkey Derby Days parade. The building was destroyed by fire in March of 1977.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Case study: Savage family business grows and thrives here

It has been a study in family, and business, and community. How do the elements intersect and change, grow and develop over time? It is the local demographics of identifying the moving  target of Monument and the Tri-Lakes area.
Rocky Mountain Car Wash and Lube Center, with manager/owner John Savage has been right on the northwest corner of the main intersection of that study for the last 20 years.
"When I decided to leave the corporate world to fulfill an entrepreneurial dream, the corner of Hwy 105 and Second St. was occupied by a one-hour photo and a self-serve car wash. Second St. did not join Hwy 105, the bridge was only two lanes wide, and a single stop sign regulated traffic," Savage said.
He started forming that vision of Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center, at least as far back as 1994.
"Working for a major oil company for 17 years, I assisted numerous lube center entrepreneurs by providing demographics, site development, building plans, equipment financing, and marketing assistance, all the while dreaming of opening my own lube center one day," he said.
The Savage family realized their dream on Sept. 7, 1995 when Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center opened for business.
"The whole family has taken part in the day-to-day operations of the business," he said.
 Dana, John's wife, helped design the lobby, and worked on publicity and advertising. Each of his children took interest in the business operations. Jennifer, the oldest of seven children, helped with bookkeeping; Tiffany, Dustin, Melissa, Joshua, and Caleb worked on cars and built customer relationships; and Caroline attracted business with her shopping cart ads since she was an infant.
Now, John Savage's seven children (with seven grandchildren) are professors, economists, engineers, business executives and more, and he credits their business experience at the Center as a major influence.
With nine family members in town, in earlier days when the town itself was much smaller, John notes that if the family would have moved, it would have constituted about one percent decrease in population.
From 1995 to 2007, Savage paid $10 per month for 1.5-inch car wash water tap that he hoped he might find a use for it someday.
By 2006, Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center had expanded to three locations, with stores in Castle Rock and Englewood as well as Monument. In response to consistent growth in the Tri-Lakes area, a new addition has been made to the Monument store. Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center opened a 95-foot tunnel conveyor carwash, complemented by a completely remodeled lobby and building exterior. Using the latest state-of-the-art technology, the carwash heats its water with energy-efficient waste oil burners, and is equipped with an environmental-friendly water reclaim system, which significantly reduces water consumption and waste. The carwash is capable of servicing 70 vehicles in an hour.
With adjustments allowing acquisition of a piece of city-owned property that now put the business on one of the busiest corners at the entrance to the historic part of the growing city, Savage endured, and finally prospered. The emissions testing service (of which, one of his daughters was the youngest ever technician at 15) helped. The changes to the corner and growth of the community helped, and having strong employees (many of them offspring) helped. And the family focus and spirit helped as well.
Much like the complete set of Colorado license plates displayed in the lobby of the center, from 1913 to 1976, the family, the business, the community has been a successful study in trying to serve the target market of local demographics in Monument and the Tri-Lakes area.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Maytag man and mayor ran a local gas station

In the heyday of the gas station economy locally, the Maytag Man owned and ran a filling station in Woodland Park.

Also involved in local and national Democratic politics, and serving as mayor  of Woodland Park for three years in the early 1960s (1960 to 1963), Bob Maytag’s grandfather was the founder of the Maytag Co. of washing machine fame, and still lives in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs.

He also had interest in raising Hereford cattle on a ranch west of Divide and his son Russell, lives at West Creek.

The family summer home on Pine and Gunnison in Woodland Park was first built in the 1930s and actually burned before anyone could move in. Completely rebuilt, it was intended as a vacation spot and Bob himself, later lived just west of there from 1951 to 1961.

Service with a Smile, a current display at the Woodland Park Library, highlights the roadside phenomenon that helped create America’s car culture and features vintage artifacts and local photographs.

“You may be fuming over the price of gas, but our Service with a Smile exhibit may put a smile, and will be on display through September at the Woodland Park Library, third floor, just outside the Colorado Room. For more information, please contact the Ute Pass Historical Society,” according to a release from the organization encouraging you to experience, with smiling attendants, a clean windshield, and more.

Gas stations first appeared in 1913, after the soaring popularity of the Model T and the breakup of Standard Oil. New oil companies and cheap gas led to America’s sudden mobility for travel.

Advertising agencies wasted no time in developing recognizable branding for the consumer - Shell’s bright yellow scallop shell, Mobil’s flying horse, and many others. Did you “trust your car to the man who wears the star”?  

“Perhaps your early driving memories include the enticement of trading stamps offered by S & H company (redeem for valuable merchandise!) and other station promotions and giveaways,” suggests Society literature. “And did you use the term filling station (popularized east of the Rockies) or service station (more common west of the Rockies)?”

As far as the Maytag legacy, a 2014 interview with Bob Maytag, conducted by Larry Black at City Hall in Woodland Park, offers clues to how it was “in the old days.”

According to a summary of the interview, Bob recalled when the Kennedys were here in the area in 1959.

“Did not see any togetherness here,” Bob Maytag was quoted in his interview with Black.

John Kennedy coming to airport here at that time helped Bob’s interest in Democratic politics. Maytag said he had one term on the Democratic national committee and went to two conventions. When Bobby Kennedy ran for president, he was very active.
“I was there (in California) the night he got killed,” according to the interview summary.
Locally Maytag recalled wild times in this area.
“There was a lot of gambling … the big stuff … there was a house
behind the house on the first start up the hill … that was the secret house, they had very sexy women there and activities … you had to be invited. Bert Bergstrom was very involved in that … the movers and shakers… it got raided and newspaper in Denver went in on it, took pictures … they loaded the stuff up … to Cripple Creek. It got raided on the way up there … took everything,” according to the interview summary.

“The whole era was different … Bert sold beer and wine … had his fingers in a lot of stuff and never went to jail.”

75 years and golden memories of district past

A certain amount of time in history offers a unique perspective, I think, maybe 75 years is that perfect distance — where no one remembers well enough to tell you are wrong about your observations, but just enough connection exists linking you to the present, that you could be perceived as being right. I found myself there last week as we toured current activity in mining district.
Back in time 75 years, The Chicago Tribune, Oct. 21, 1941, reported it this way.
"Stream of Gold Flowing Again in Old Cripple Creek Area," headlined.
"The mining industry of the famous old Cripple Creek area that was pouring out 20 million dollars worth of gold a year at the turn of the century, is stepping up its operations aided by a six mile tunnel," the story reported

Type of gold seeker seen frequently in the earlier days.
"The romance of that rough and tumble era when fortune seekers sang the ditty about 'to Cripple Creek' still is only a ghost that haunts the mountains, but a stream of gold is flowing again and will exceed 5 million dollars this year.
Less colorful but more efficient miners were going down 3,000 feet or more below the surface to blast the ore out of the heart of the mountains that rise more than 14,000 feet above sea level.

Tunnel Drains Water.
"In order that the miners can go even deeper into the earth, a six mile tunnel-named Carlton Tunnel- was blasted through almost solid rock into the mining area to drain off water that seeps into the mines. Carlton tunnel goes into the mountains at 7,000 feet above sea level and was completed this summer in three days less than two years at a cost of about a million dollars," the Tribune explained.
"Gold mining is a depression business," said Max W. Bowen, vice president of the Golden Cycle Corporation, which smelts more than 90 percent of the ore produced in the Cripple Creek area. "The price of gold has remained $35 an ounce for a good many years. When labor and production costs are low, more gold can be mined.
"This year production In the Cripple Creek area will be the largest in the last decade. Value of the ore, however, will not be much larger than last year because of the smaller gold content."

Expect 15 Million Output.
"For every ton of ore-bearing rock brought to the smelter in 1940, an average of 0.29 of an ounce of gold was removed. We expect to smelt around 550,000 tons of ore this year that will have a total value of $5,500,000, about 13 per cent of the ore coming from outside the Cripple Creek area."
Bowen said the federal government took the entire output of the smelter. Once a week an armored car comes to Colorado Springs from Denver to pickup the bar of gold produced that week to haul it to the mint.
Cripple Creek's gold mines, Including those at Victor, are the largest in Colorado. Since 1891, when a wandering cowboy searching for lost cattle discovered gold in the area, the Cripple Creek district has figured prominently in the history of the west.

Who was operating in the district.
"Capitol's Who's Who for Colorado: A Triennial Reference Work 1941-1943," imprinted on the leather cover. Copyright 1941 by the Capitol Publishing Company, tells the tale.

Frank Joseph  Busch
Mining executive, born Shelby, Ohio, 1878, Married Edith Purcell, Feb. 1907, Children Frances(Johnson), Stella, mining since 1896; associated with Jack Pot and Hull City Mines, 1896-1894, later various mines, Rhyolite, Nevada, Death Valley, California, Chihuahua, Mexico, manager Moose Mine, Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1918 –, Elk (past Exalted Ruler); member , Colorado Mining Association; address Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Kenneth William Geddes
Superintendent of Schools; born, Colorado Springs, Sept. 20, 1899; son of John M. and Bessie G., educated public schools of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Grinnell College, AB 1921; Columbia University, AM 1933, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Kappa; married Margaret Whitehill, Iowa, December 21, 1921; Children, Kenneth W. Jr., Began as a bank clerk; high school teacher, 1923-24; high school principal 1924-28, and now Superintendent of District 1 Schools, Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado; Alderman City of Victor, 1928 –, served in U.S. Army World War; member of Colorado Education Association; American Association of School Administrators, Kiwanis Club, president 1936; Lieut. Governor, 1939; Episcopalian; home 412 Spicer Ave.; office, High School Building, Cripple Creek.

Thomas Kavanaugh
Mine operator; born, Franklin County, Missouri, 1869; married Clara Aehart, 1894; children Carl T., William Lee (deceased), Gertrude (Mills); master mechanic, Canon City Coal Company 1885-92; operator Mickey Breen Mill, Ouray 1892-93, master mechanic Basick Mine, Coreda, Colorado, 19893; mining activities, Cripple Creek District, 1894-1902; General Manager, Western Mines Company, 1902-1906; Operator Wild Horse Mine and Mill, Cripple Creek, 1906-11; Owner, manager, Kavanaugh Mill, Cripple Creek, 1911-15; owner, manager Iron Clad Mine and Mill, Cripple Creek, 1915 —; address Cripple Creek.

Irena S. Ingham
Ex-District Judge, Cripple Creek, 1900: educator, University of Colorado; Denver University Law School; AB, LL B; Kappa Alpha Theta; married Aurthur W. Ingham, 1924 (deceased 1935); editor, Durango Herald, 1925-28,; admitted to Colorado Bar; practice before federal courts 1924; editor, part owner, Times Record, Cripple Creek, ex-District Judge, 4th District; member of American Bar Association, Womans Club, OES; home, 221 North 3rd; office, 326 Bennett, Cripple Creek.

Cecil A. Markley
Sheriff of Teller County; born Charlestown, Ill, 1898; married Grace May Berry, Nov. 1925; children, John A., Gleneva; owner, manager District Motor Company, Cripple Creek, 1920-32; operator, Pinnacle Mine, 1932-36; sheriff, 1936 to date; member Colorado Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association; Mason, Elk, Democrat; home, 411 E. Eaton; office, Court House, Cripple Creek.

Charles W. Searles
Mayor of Cripple Creek; born Steuben County, New York, Oct. 1859; education, public schools, New York, Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, Lima, N.Y., married Mary Freer (deceased), Watkins Glen, N.Y., May 1899; children Willet F. George F. (deceased), Wendall (deceased,) Began as a teacher, rancher, mine operator, Cripple Creek,1892-; Mayor Cripple Creek 1927—; S.R. KT. Mason (past Master); Shiner: Elk: Methodist; Republican; home, 400 E. Eaton, Cripple Creek.

Vernon Peiffer
Postmaster; ex-State Senator; born, Meadville, Pa., Jan. 1872; married Carrie I. Lear, Oct. 1893; children Hereford V., Louis O., Harry L., Kenneth L., owner, manager, Salida Bottling Works, 1893; owner, manager Cripple Creek Bottling Works, 1894 to date; Postmaster, Cripple Creek, 1936 —; served on City Council; Rep. State Legislature 1926; State Senator 1930; State President Eagles, 1929-30;  Elk; Episc; Democrat; home, 220 Main; office Post Office, Cripple Creek.

"A man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on the frequent self-examinations, and the steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right," the book quotes Marcus Aurelius in the forward.
R.O. Norman, editor wrote in January, 1941, "We have given frank recognition to lineage; to those founded in the native soil; to those destined to become the the ancestry of future generations of Colorado. These are the names which make the history of our state, making the work a contemporary history book."

Just a year later, a different story developed in the District. War Production Board Limitation Order L-208, issued on Oct. 8, 1942, forced the closing mines here and all over the nation.  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Local firefighters pay it forward, gain experience, but don't endanger home turf

Crews from Divide, Cripple Creek, and Northeast Teller Fire Protection District, with firefighters from all over Teller County, have recently helped with fires in other states. Three things you should know about local firefighters helping with fires in other states. First, local resources can't be drawn down in any way, in nearby fire protection areas. Second, it is an excellent opportunity for training. And finally, without exception, the local crews want to give back or help out others, in case they need help with area fires in the future.
"Part of it, I think, is a desire to pay it forward," says Steve Menz, Divide Fire Protection District Engine Captain, the day after returning from a 21-day stint battling blazes in Northern California. "We saw firefighters in here from many different states during the Black Forest Fire and the Waldo Canyon Fire. If we have new fire, they will be here from all over, to help us."
"Local residents may be wondering, 'Well, who is watching the shop.' but the truth is, there are 20-25 other firefighters, and three other engines, that are ready to roll, just in our fire protection district."
The Divide Fire Protection District crew returning from California, was made up of two firefighters from the district,  Menz and Engine Boss Trainee Bradley Inscoe, its ‘Type 3’ four-wheel drive engine, and a crew member each from Coalition For Upper South Platte (Beth Neilsen), and the Colorado State Forest Service employee (Matt Matwijec).
The crew had just completed a 29-hour drive back last week, regulations only allowing them to drive 16 hours a day, when reached in Divide.
"We got about five miles to gallon," he said and they ran on the highway with about a third of a tank of water on to smooth the ride. But once they arrived, fuel trucks filled the engine everyday. They also had a mechanical issue with their air brakes that was fixed on site, at the incident camp.
He described the crew's typical day as getting up in the camp about 5 a.m., going, to breakfast, then a mass-briefing, division weather condition reports, chores, then off to particular assignments, which might have been anything from pulling hose off the line, rehab, working hot spots, or mop-up operations. For several days they were also assigned to what he called a "spike camp" or smaller, remote camp away from the hustle of the 1200-person incident camp.
"At the Spike Camp, there was only about 100 of us there. It was more remote and rustic and we didn't have the same food service, but we enjoyed our stay. A typical day would usually be about 14 to 16 hours before time to turn in, for the evening.
He did say the crew experienced 'active fire.'
"We saw 20-foot high flames, though we working in the black." The biggest danger however, was probably avoiding hazards from fire-weakened trees, he said. "Snags, that was the real danger.," Menze said.
Northeast Teller Fire Protection District has sent at least two three-person crews to assist with the River Complex wildfires in California, on the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Chief Tyler Lambert reached during a 'rain break' several weeks ago said they also had a wild-land engine, and one of NETCO paramedic had transported a trauma patient to the local ambulance while deployed in Northern California.
Cripple Creek Fire Chief Randall Baldwin recently had a three-person crew return from fighting fire for 11-days on the Flat Head National Forest near the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. They deployed a ‘Type 6’ wild-land engine and Fire Captain Ryan Lohmeyer, firefighters Dan Battin and Sonny Brown spent 30 plus hours on the road to and from that fire.
"It is a fantastic training opportunity and we know that if we have a fire here, we would see crews from all over the country, like we did during the Black Forest Fire and Waldo Canyon," said Baldwin.

Photo Information:
Photo 1: The view from Spike Camp is enhanced by the smokey sunset.
Photo 2: Early morning mop-up and patrol in the Owl Creek drainage.
Photo 3: Divide Fire developed a problem with fire pump's high-pressure hose and had to go out of service to have it repaired. We ended up at Pro Pacific in Eureka. The owner called a friend over to his shop who was head of fleet maintenance for Six Rivers National Forest. The crew was able to get it fixed and back on the fireline.
Photo 4: Crews might face a whole different set conditions with larger trees and unfamiliar topography.
Photo 5: NETCO firefighters wrapping a lookout tower in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on the River Complex Fire.
Photo 6: Helicopter drop in the rough terrain and smokey conditions.
Photo 7: Cripple Creek Fire Fighters Dan Battin, Ryan Lohmeyer, Sonny Brown near the Blackfeet Nation in Montana.