Conservation Commission honors firefighters

BRANSON, Mo. – Wildfire control involves more than putting out fires. Effective fire suppression involves proactive programs as well as quick reactive measures. In the southwest corner of the state, the Ozark Gateway Fire Chiefs Association has long recognized that educational programs are just as effective fire-fighting tools as water hoses and shovels.

This group, which is comprised 36 fire departments in nine counties in southwest Missouri, was recognized with a proclamation at the Missouri Conservation Commission’s March meeting in Branson on March 7. The proclamation was issued by the Conservation Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Receiving the proclamation were representatives from two of the Association’s initial, and most active members: The Carthage Fire Department, which serves the City of Carthage in Jasper County and the surrounding area, and the Redings Mill Fire Protection District, a 110-square mile area covering parts of Newton and Jasper counties.

Both Carthage and Redings Mill have long been involved in Firewise Communities USA, a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) program co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Natioanl Association of State Foresters. Firewise Communities USA encourages community action that minimizes home loss to wildfire. The Redings Mill Fire Protection District had the first 10 certified Firewise communities in Missouri. The Carthage Fire Department has 12 certified Firewise communities.

Since its formation 30 years ago, the Ozark Gateway Fire Chiefs Association has assisted the Missouri Department of Conservation in wildfire prevention and suppression. The group has also helped develop community wildfire protection plans.

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