FireWise of Southwest Colorado had some big things to celebrate at its bimonthly meeting Tuesday, including three national awards.
Judy Winzell got a standing ovation from her neighbors at Falls Creek as she accepted the Community Wildfire Preparedness Pioneer Award – one of only four in the nation – from Durango Fire Protection District Deputy Chief of Operations Hal Doughty. The DFPD nominated Winzell for the honor.
During her time as a FireWise Ambassador – she recently stepped down – Winzell brought in more than $250,000 in grants, created a committee to assess roads and construction that has created larger turnarounds and other safety and accessibility features for firefighters, and recruited chain-saw crews. She also played host to a party every year in the Falls Creek Fire Station so neighborhood residents could meet members of the DFPD.
The award was jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.