As the region's current drought persists -- and with wildfires burning throughout the West -- the Cedaredge Volunteer Fire Department is continuing to seek new members. For application procedures, contact Chief Dan Sanders at the Cedaredge Police Department, 140 NW 2nd Street, 970-856-4301. Interested parties should be aware that eligible participation in the volunteer fire department carries the benefit of a pension.
Although surrounded by forest and woodlands, Cedaredge and the Surface Creek region have been fortunate this year to escape a major wildfire. The fire department has nevertheless been busy responding to a number of smaller blazes, mostly caused by lightning.
Residents are asked to be especially vigilant during the current drought conditions when an errant spark or lightning can quickly ignite the dry landscape. And don't hesitate to contact the fire department in an emergency by dialing 911. Although some communities and agencies have begun to relax fire restrictions, remember that open campfires, open burning, and fireworks are still forbidden throughout Delta County, as is the discharging of certain firearms. Plus citizens are reminded to be cautious in the use of chainsaws and welding equipment.
As for historic fires in the Cedaredge area, perhaps the most spectacular blaze in recent memory was the McGruder or Fourth of July fire which was visible east of Cedaredge near the site of the old McGruder coal mine. According to an internet account of the blaze, "Lightning struck a tree on Friday, July 2, 2004. The fire smoldered overnight and hot dry winds fanned the flames into a large wildfire on July 3, 2004. By Sunday, July 11, the fire was considered 100 percent contained. Thanks to the efforts of the Cedaredge volunteer and other area fire departments, San Juan Hot Shots, the BLM and Forest Service, no homes or lives were lost. The total area consumed by the McGruder fire was estimated at about 3,000 acres..." (This entry was posted in the online "Kiddie Encyclopedia").