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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Wind River/Bighorn Basin District
 
Release Date: 07/06/11
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    
  307-347-5207    

BLM Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Firefighters
Win National Award


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wind River/Bighorn Basin District (WR/BBD) fire program was recently presented with the prestigious Pulaski Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to wildland firefighting and America’s wildland firefighters.

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Members of the Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Fire Program with the Pulaski Award.
Members of the Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Fire Program with the Pulaski Award.
The Pulaski Award will travel to locations in Cody, Lander, Lovell, Meeteetse, Ten Sleep, Thermopolis and Worland.
The Pulaski Award will travel to locations in Cody, Lander, Lovell, Meeteetse, Ten Sleep, Thermopolis and Worland.
This national award from the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior is presented annually by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The WR/BBD fire program received the award for its work in developing interagency partnerships geared towards cooperation, coordination and the standardization of fire management in the state of Wyoming.

“I am so proud of these firefighters for winning this national award,” said recently-retired District Manager Eddie Bateson. “The positive working relationships they have developed within the fire community as well as with the counties and local fire districts have fostered an effective interagency approach to managing wildland fire.”

The Pulaski Award, a 30-inch bronze statue of a wildland firefighter created by Larry Noland, is named for a young forest ranger who led his crew through thick smoke, heat and flames to the safety of a railroad tunnel during the Montana/Idaho inferno of 1910. Also named for this ranger is a half axe/half hoe tool used commonly in wildland firefighting. The award was first presented in 1998.

WR/BBD Fire Management Officer Chuck Russell is sharing the recognition with BLM partners by sending the award to locations throughout the Cody, Lander and Worland areas. “We could not have received this award without our great fire staff and cooperators,” Russell said. “I want the Pulaski Award to travel so that all the folks who came together to help develop these relationships can enjoy it.”

Throughout the next several months, the award will travel to the following locations: Cody Fire Department, Cody Interagency Dispatch Center, BLM Cody Field Office, Meeteetse Fire Department, Lovell Fire Department, Big Horn County Fire Warden’s Office, Worland Fire Department, BLM Worland Field Office, Ten Sleep Fire Department, Hot Spring County Fire Department, Lander Rural Fire Department, Fremont County Fire Warden’s Office and BLM Lander Field Office.

The WR/BBD and their partners, fire wardens from Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties and Wyoming State Forestry, came together in 2002 and identified the following goals and objectives to address as a group: 1) Promote safety in suppression and preparedness operations, 2) Provide rural fire departments and partners current course offerings, 3) Improve cooperator involvement and interaction with federal agencies, 4) Improve Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) community protection, and 5) Open lines for collaborative training between cooperating agencies. The group realized early on that it would take a commitment by all members at the local, county, state and federal levels to be successful.

After the cooperative partnership was initiated, the group recognized that firefighter safety is a primary concern and that risk to firefighters required immediate action. As a result, the WR/BBD fire staff and their partners took action and taught 10 courses (160 hours of classroom instruction) to 110 students from eight different departments. Due to the success during that first year, the WR/BBD has continued the effort each year since 2002. During 2009 and 2010 the WR/BBD provided 22 courses (224 hours of classroom instruction) to 144 students from 16 different departments engaged in wildland fire.

“The group's work is one example of the success that can be realized by getting employees from a variety of different organizational disciplines involved in resolving critical issues through a collaborative effort,” NIFC Governing Board Chair Gary Bowers said. “The work of the WR/BBD is an excellent example of how we can set aside jurisdictional boundaries and work together to strengthen the fire workforce.”

For more information, please contact the WR/BBD Office at 307-347-5100.

Bureau of Land Management fire fighters clean up after a fire.
Bureau of Land Management fire fighters clean up after a fire.
Wildland fire fighters plan the attack.
Wildland fire fighters plan the attack.
Fire fighters clear a line of fuel to control the spread of the fire.
Fire fighters clear a line of fuel to control the spread of the fire.



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
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Wind River/Bighorn Basin District   101 South 23rd      Worland, WY 82401  

Last updated: 07-08-2011