‘Fighting Wildfires Together’

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 7:10 PM MDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 7:28 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Wildfire is a threat that plagues Colorado year-round, and there’s no such thing as being too ready for something that could strike at any time.

In just the past year, Colorado has experience destructive and deadly fires in Boulder County and Colorado Springs. Almost everyone who has lived in Colorado for the past 10 years can remember the devastation caused by both the Waldo Canyon Fire and the Black Forest Fire.

Watch a replay of a community discussion, “Fighting Wildfires Together” at the top of this article.

The virtual discussion included the following speakers:

BRETT LACEY: Colorado Springs fire marshal

DAN BATTIN: Acting deputy fire warden El Paso County

CHIEF MICHAEL MYERS: Catamount Wildland Fire Team

DEPUTY CHIEF DEAN O’NALE: Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District

BRIAN BLEDSOE: KKTV 11 News chief meteorologist

About each panelist:

Fire Marshal Brett Lacey, CSFD

Brett Lacey is an Oklahoma State University alumnus, a registered professional engineer, and a certified safety professional whose dedication to the fire service industry spans over four decades. Along with his academic commitment to fire prevention, Brett’s “boots on the ground” skills and experiences gained from working in firefighter, paramedic, deputy fire marshal, and fire protection engineer positions contribute significantly to his success as fire marshal of the Colorado Springs Fire Department; a rank maintained since 1998.

Brett retains National Incident Management System (NIMS) competencies and Incident Command System (ICS) certifications for the Incident Commander and the Planning Section Chief positions. Events utilizing those roles include but are in no way limited to severe weather incidents, large scale sporting events plannings, Hurricane Katrina’s victim recovery, Castle West Apartment’s arson investigation, New Life Church’s and Planned Parenthood’s mass shooting incidents, Waldo Canyon’s wildfire/conflagration, and Black Forest’s wildfire.

Acting Deputy Fire Warden Dan Battin, El Paso County

Dan Battin grew up in south Texas and moved to Colorado in 2000 when he was still in the Air Force. He and his wife Amy have two children, Dempsey and Delaney. He began my fire service career in Teller County primarily as a structure firefighter. He quickly gravitated to wildland firefighting and was lucky to focus my career in wildland fire management with the Division of Fire Prevention and Control as a Regional Battalion Chief. He lives on the west side of El Paso County and is excited to help in the wildland fire effort in our community.

Chief Michael Myers: Catamount Wildland Fire Team, Technical Services supervisor for Colorado Springs Utilities

Michael Myers is a technical services supervisor for Colorado Springs Utilities. He has served on the Catamount Wildland Fire Team for over 20 years, and as its chief for the past 10 years. The team is made of volunteer employees from Springs Utilities, the City of Colorado Springs Public Works and Pikes Peak America’s Mountain. The team is charged with infrastructure protection and mitigation throughout 11 counties in the state of Colorado and has responded to and stood on the front lines of some of the area’s most devastating wildfires or other emergencies since 1988.

Myers is Incident Commander Type 4 (ICT4), Single Resource Boss (SRB), and is Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) qualified. He is a national instructor for Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), certified instructor for National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) wildland firefighter leadership and operational courses. Myers is the co-chair for the Pikes Peak Regional Incident Management Team (PPR IMT), co-chair of the Pikes Peak Chief’s Council’s Training Committee within El Paso County, Advisory Board President of the Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) Fire Science Program and Advisory Board member of the PPCC Emergency Service Degree Program

Deputy Fire Chief Dean O’Nale, Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District

Dean O’Nale is the Deputy Fire Chief for the Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District in Woodland Park, Colorado. He has worked in the field of Emergency Services for over 40 years, first as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic in his home state of Arkansas and then as a firefighter/paramedic in Florida, where he retired after working with Oldsmar Fire Rescue for 25 years, as the Fire and EMS Chief.

Dean’s passion is training. He is certified as an instructor in several different fire and ems programs. Additionally, he provides training to and for local, state, and federal agencies in leadership, conflict resolution, supervision and other human resources related topics. Dean is also a contract instructor for the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland where he teaches in the Executive Development Program . Dean has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Troy University.

Dean and his wife, Michelle, have a home in Divide Colorado

Brian Bledsoe, KKTV 11 News chief meteorologist

Brian grew up on a ranch 45 miles southeast of Limon, where his family still farms and ranches. Weather is extremely important when it comes to his family’s way of life. Brian obtained his Meteorology degree at the University of Northern Colorado. He’s been in broadcasting for the past 20+ years. His journey has taken him from KGWN-TV in Cheyenne, Wyoming, KMEG-TV in Sioux City, Iowa, KDLT-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and then CBS 58 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brian has been at KKTV since 2005 and has been part of providing critical information to the masses for every major wildfire in the southern Colorado area since then.

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