Fire Apparatus Boosts Chadron State Park’s (NE) Fire Defense

When Chadron State Park (NE) is called upon to defend itself against another wildfire, it will have a new fire apparatus.

The park recently acquired from the city of Seward a 1989 Ford cab-over pumper fire truck. After sitting for a year in surplus and deteriorating day by day, Seward transferred the truck to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for $1,995. Thanks to the fire truck and its 750-gallon capacity, the park will have more strength in its efforts to fight fires.

The new addition, which will complement the park’s two 125-gallon pickup truck grass rigs, came to Chadron State Park much by chance.

This spring, Dave Kinnamon, Chadron State Park superintendent, contacted Seward city administrator Brett Baker after learning about the possibility of the truck’s sale from a temporary worker from the eastern Nebraska community who helped with fire clean-up efforts in the first state park, portions of which were among the thousands of acres of northwestern Nebraska forests that burned in late summer 2012.

Designs on the truck note a connection between the two communities. “People, Partnerships, Prevention. From the City of Seward to Chadron State Park” states a decal on the doors. Baker said the idea of offering the truck to Chadron was well-received and supported by members of the Seward fire department’s command staff. It was a benefit to both communities in that Seward eliminated a surplus fire truck and that Chadron State Park has another means to protect itself from wildfires.

“Out here at the park, it will be great. We haven’t had any way to hook into our fire hydrants, and now we’ll be able to do that,” Kinnamon said. “If we would have had this truck when the fire came up on our buildings last year, we could have put a lot of water on the trees and really soaked things down before it got there.”

Kinnamon expects the truck to not only be useful at the park, but also for other area Commission properties. One potential use, he said, is to provide a level of safety at prescribed burns that are used as a vegetation management tool at wildlife management areas.

The truck arrived at the park July 17 and only needs hoses that will be installed within weeks.

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