Wildfires have shaped the forests and grasslands that surround the Town of Vail. Wildfires may appear to be a destructive force of nature, but they also keep the environment healthy. The plants and animals have adapted to not only survive but thrive with wildfire. High elevation forests like those that surround Vail do not experience large wildfires often. Historically, a handful of small fires would burn each summer with a large fire occurring once every 150 to 250 years. Because the large fires occur so infrequently, they would have a large amount of vegetation to burn and can last weeks or even months, burning thousands of acres of forest and grassland. These highly destructive fires are the beginning of a new forest. After a large fire new grasses and trees grow in the burn area. This new forest provides new habitat for wildlife, healthy forests and open vistas. The ecosystem has adapted to thrive in these conditions, so too must the Town.
The Town of Vail is taking proactive steps to become “Fire Adapted”. We recognize that a large fire will impact the town in the future. We must take the time now to prepare the forest and community to thrive with wildfire. We all have a part to play in ensuring we are ready for wildfire.
Vail Community Wildfire Protection Plan 2020.pdf
Click Here To View The Town of Vail's Interactive GIS Map
The mission of the program is to provide for the safety of the Town of Vail before, during and after a wildland fire incident. The modules work in many capacities to fulfill this mission including; fuels management projects, community assessments, wildland fire suppression and prescribed fire operations. The majority of time during the season will be spent on project work such as fuels management and community chipping.
The modules work collaboratively with other jurisdictions throughout Eagle County to provide mutual aid on all lands throughout the county. The department is a cooperator of the Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit. The program is lead by a full time coordinator and staffs two Type 6 engines out of West Vail- Station 3.
In addition to the wildland suppression and mitigation activities the modules are also heavily involved in the management of the forested lands under the ownership of the Town of Vail. Staff will be trained and involved in technical tree removal in a more urban environment throughout the season.
The modules will respond to all wildfires within the 200 square mile Vail Fire response area as well as mutual aid requests throughout Eagle County. Elevation range within the response area is 8,000-13,000 feet above sea level with many steep and rugged slopes. The modules may also be utilized for other types of all hazard calls as appropriate. Staff will be available for national dispatch as local fire conditions allow. Employees may be exposed to extreme temperature variations, extended work hours, dust and smoke, insect bites and other unpredictable working conditions.
The season will run May through Oct. Staff will work either a 4 day - 10 hour or 5 day- 8 hour schedule based on crew and department need. Overtime is based on fire activity and other needs.
Vail Fire acknowledges that physical fitness plays a key role in firefighter effectiveness and safety. All wildland division members are expected to begin the season at a high physical fitness level and participate in daily physical fitness training. All crew members must pass the arduous pack test; 3 mile hike, within 45 minutes, while carrying a 45 pound pack, as a condition of employment. Additionally crew members should be ready to fight fire and complete project work on steep slopes over mountainous terrain. Programs such as FireFit https://www.nifc.gov/FireFit/ help prepare crew members for a successful season.
The Town of Vail offers several different options for employees. Housing rates are lower than comparable free market rentals available in the area. Employee housing is available on a limited basis.
Vail, which is centrally located in the Rocky Mountains, offers easy access to Denver (100 miles to the east) and is surrounded by the White River National Forest, offering world class outdoor activities in summer and winter (skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, white water).
When asked, most of our employees say that working for the Town of Vail feels like family. Our values-based culture is nurtured by the employees’ strong desire to foster teamwork, take ownership in Vail’s future and an overall pride for serving their community. To find out more about our community, please visit our website www.vailgov.com and click on Vail Information.
As a Seasonal employee we encourage you to enjoy the local outdoor activities that brought you here! Summer employees will be provided with a Golf & Tennis Pass at the Vail Golf Course and Tennis Center.
Interested applicants, or those desiring further information, should contact Paul Cada, Wildfire Program Administer, by phone 970-477-3475 or e-mail email@example.com.
A Letter from the Fire Chief, Mark Novak about the Wildfire Mitigation Program.