Events planned to thank local first responders for fighting Lake Christine Fire | AspenTimes.com

Events planned to thank local first responders for fighting Lake Christine Fire

Two opportunities to thank first responders from Basalt and throughout the region are in the works.

Local officials have decided to use National Night Out on Aug. 7 as an opportunity to say "thanks" to Basalt Fire Department, Basalt Police Department and numerous assisting agencies for saving Basalt and El Jebel from burning in the first 36 hours of the Lake Christine Fire.

Then Aug. 11, a previously planned community picnic will be used to break bread and give thanks together.

"Tuesday night is all about the first responders," said Kris Mattera, executive director of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce. "Saturday night is all about community."

Midvalley residents have been clamoring for an opportunity to thank their local first responders for brave actions during the fire. More than 500 people turned up at a spur-of-the-moment, highly emotional gathering July 10 to thank federal firefighters for getting the blaze under control. Attendees lined the roads into the firefighter camp at Crown Mountain Park and cheered the crews as they returned for the night. Federal crew members said they have rarely if ever received such an outpouring of support.

Next, it is locals' appreciation time.

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National Night Out has been held nationwide for 35 years as a way for first responders to mingle and discuss issues with the public. Basalt firefighters and police have teamed with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office in the past few years to host the event. That will be expanded this year.

In addition to the local agencies, all first responders who assisted on the Lake Christine Fire in the critical first days have been invited to attend. Those invited are the fire departments from Aspen, Snowmass Village, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Avon and Eagle; Pitkin County communications/dispatch; Colorado State Patrol; Pitkin County Sheriff's Office; Garfield County Sheriff's Office; Colorado Parks and Wildlife; U.S. Forest Service; Colorado Department of Transportation; American Red Cross; Black Hills Energy; Holy Cross Energy; Xcel Energy; and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

National Night Out will be an open house between 5 and 8 p.m. at Triangle Park at Willits. There is no set agenda. The public is welcome to swing by as it fits their schedule. Food and drink will be available.

Parking will be in short supply due to the expected crowd. People are encouraged to walk, take a bicycle or ride a RFTA bus to Willits. Triangle Park is at the entrance to the commercial core.

Personnel from the Basalt Public Works Department will staff barricades so that police are free to mingle. Volunteers are being sought for other duties. Contact Missy at the Basalt Chamber at 970-927-4031 to help out.

The community picnic is Aug. 11 at 4 p.m. in the Basalt River Park — on the banks of the Roaring Fork River near downtown.

"It will essentially be bring your own picnic," Mattera said.

Activities will include creating giant "Thank You" cards for firefighters. More details will be released closer to the event.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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