USA — DEADWOOD The North Zone Fire Management and Rapid City Fire will team up Saturday to put on a benefit Texas Hold Em poker tournament at Cadillac Jacks in Deadwood. All proceeds will go to the Wildland Fire Foundation, based in Boise, Idaho, which helps injured and fallen wildland firefighters and their families across the nation.
Local wildland firefighter Robert Cota, who is a member of North Zone Fire, a group of local wildland firefighters from Sundance, Wyo., to Spearfish, said that the foundation was established in 1988 by a woman who saw a need to help burn victims and the families of fallen firefighters.
She saw the injuries, the fatalities that were happening then and have been going on since man in the United States started battling wildfires, Cota said, talking on his cell phone from the site of a fire he and his crew had just minutes prior extinguished. The foundation helps the families of wildland firefighters injured and fallen in the line of duty.
Cota said that a special focus is put on the emotional support burn victims and loved ones left behind require.
There is a great need to help out with the emotional toll something like this takes on the family, Cota said. Whether its mom or dad, whoever the breadwinner is, if all of a sudden you lose that breadwinner and theres no income, what happens?
He added that when the foundation was established, there was no support system for wildland firefighters.
Now, when something happens, instantly there is a huge network of people that can offer emotional support and there are financial means to help with the short-term effects of losing the firefighter, Cota explained. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation comes in instantly and relieves some of that initial stress. Their support never stops. They offer lifetime support.
Examples of how firefighters and their families are helped include assistance with travel expenses, food and clothing for extended stays at burn centers.
I was able to see Wildland Firefighter Foundation dollars at work locally during the Coal Canyon fire last year near Custer when a state of South Dakota firefighter perished and two additional firefighters were injured, Cota said. The foundation helped all three families.
The parents and brothers of the fallen firefighter will be special guests at Saturdays poker tournament.
Poker tournament sign-up will be held from 8-8:45 a.m. Saturday at Cadillac Jacks, with an entry fee of $60, which includes lunch, soda, beer and a wildland firefighter swag bag. Raffles will be held for Scheels and Cabelas outdoor equipment, along with a Nargear wildland firefighting pack. A silent auction will be held for four western heritage belt buckles. First, second, third and fourth place winners will also receive western heritage belt buckles.
We can seat up to 150 players, and were hoping for at least 100, Cota said. People can pre-register at wffpoker.com, but they dont have to pre-pay for the tournament. If we got 100 people to sign up, wed be really close to raising that $10,000.
The North Land Fire Management Group has raised more than $10,000 over the past five years to benefit the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.