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Wind River/Bighorn Basin District
Release Date: 05/01/12
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    

BLM Pulaski Award Shared with Fremont County Firefighting Partners

The prestigious Pulaski Award, presented to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wind River/Bighorn Basin District (WR/BBD) fire program, will be temporarily located in both Lander and Riverton in recognition of the BLM’s partnership with Fremont County Fire Protection District.

BLM and Lander firefighters with the Pulaski award.
Aaron Thompson (BLM), Joel Peters (BLM), Jason Laird (Lander City Fire Chief), Nick Hudson (Lander City Fire Adminstrator), Mike Coyne (BLM) and Sam Bruner (BLM) with the Pulaski Award.  
The Pulaski Award.
The Pulaski Award
BLM and Fremont County firefighters with the Pulaski Award.
Aaron Thompson (BLM), Joel Peters (BLM), Chris Johnson (Fremont County Battalion 3 Captain), Dave Peavey (Lander Rural Fire Chief), Craig Haslam (Fremont County Fire Chief), Dan Oakley (Fremont County Fire), Mike Coyne (BLM) and Sam Bruner (BLM) with the Pulaski Award.
The Pulaski Award recognizes outstanding contributions to wildland firefighting and America’s wildland firefighters. 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.

WR/BBD Fire Management Officer Chuck Russell is sharing the recognition with partners by sending the award to locations throughout the area. “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.”

In Lander, the Pulaski Award spent a week at Lander City Hall and now the community can see it at the Lander Volunteer Fire Department. The award will then wrap-up its tour with a month at the Fremont County Fire Protection District Headquarters in Riverton.

“It is an honor to share the Pulaski Award with the BLM and the other cooperators,” said Fremont County Fire Protection District Chief and Fire Warden Craig Haslam. “It pays tribute to the years of cooperative effort with the BLM and other federal agencies. We enjoy the opportunities that we have had in the past to work together and look forward to the same ongoing relationship in the future.”

“We appreciate the relationship we have with our local BLM office and the support they give us on projects we work on together,” said Lander City Fire Administrator Nick Hudson. “Congratulations to the district for receiving this award.”

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.

In addition to Lander and Riverton, the award has traveled to the following locations since June 2011: Cody Fire Department, Cody Interagency Dispatch Center, BLM Cody Field Office, Lovell Fire Department, Big Horn County Fire Warden’s Office, Worland Fire Department, BLM Worland Field Office and Thermopolis Fire Hall.

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 BLM Fire Operations Supervisor Aaron Thompson in the Lander Field Office at 307-332-8400 or at

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Wind River/Bighorn Basin District   101 South 23rd      Worland, WY 82401  

Last updated: 05-01-2012