While a relatively new term and one derived from the better known “Thin Blue Line” supporting law enforcement, the “Thin Red Line” is an emblem representing the camaraderie of firefighters.
Never was this more evident than in the past two weeks as local, state and federal fire resources battled the record Spring Fire in Costilla and Huerfano counties assisted by their “blue line” brethren from local and state law enforcement.
We commend the efforts of all first responders in taking unmeasurable risks to battle this behemoth of destruction that currently ranks as the third largest wildfire in recorded state history. Considering that the neighboring West Fork Complex in 2006 is just ahead of the Spring Fire in total acreage, the more recent conflagration is larger as West Fork was a complex of three fires, not just one.
With containment listed at over 70 percent Tuesday, the 107,627-acre blaze began June 27th at the alleged hand of a now incarcerated immigrant squatter who claims he was cooking meat in a make-shift pit.
While scores of homes and other structures could not be saved many were, and without loss of life or limb to property owners or the brave men and women who faced the fury. In spite of the 140-plus current estimate of homes lost in subdivisions ravished by the Spring Fire, other residential areas have yet to be officially assessed and that number is expected to grow.
Fire officials on scene for the Spring Fire repeatedly pointed out that conditions were such that in many cases there was no stopping the inferno. Wind-driven flames endangered firefighters who responded from Costilla County departments, other volunteer units from the Valley and beyond, as well as state and federal firefighters and professional “hot shot” crews from across the nation.
The “thin red line” was clearly evident here in the past two weeks and we salute everyone involved.