19 September 2023

“Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire”

Written by: Josiah Martinez

Saludos friends! I once again have the pleasure to bring you all tales from my time at the Pueblo Interagency Dispatch Center! I left my last post off with hopes of finally experiencing the big fire of the season, and unfortunately, I am still waiting. Colorado experienced a record breaking wet Spring which has led to a record slow fire season for our District. However, I have not let this time go to waste.


I have had the opportunity to become certified and trained in nearly all aspects required for my role as an Interagency fire dispatcher, before my internship has even ended. With my period here at MANO coming to a close soon, I have also had the opportunity to begin my official process of being hired onto the Forest Service as a Wildland Firefighter. This appointment as a firefighter will be temporary however, as I need 90 days of fire service to qualify for a permanent dispatch position. But, once I have completed this 90 day period, I will be swinging right back to my spot at PIDC as a full fledged, permanent, federal fire dispatcher.


Even though my attention has begun to shift to my career beyond my time here at MANO, I still am very much so invested in my day to day operations. With Fire season coming to an end here soon, the Forest’s attention has shifted from suppressing fires, to starting them. Prescribed fire season has started and brought a noticeable shift to day to day operations. It has been a pleasure to see and be a part of all of the behind the scenes work that comes with a prescribed burn. Everything from public notification and social media posts, to extensive burn plans and paperwork, to even handling the incoming torrent of public reports of smoke when ignitions do begin has been an eye opening experience.


Being a Wildland fire dispatcher encompasses so much more than just wildland fire itself. There is such a wide variety of skills I have learned in my short time here that I never thought were applicable. Beyond that, I have discovered much about myself, I feel I have finally found a career I can actually love.

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