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Wildland Firefighters Rescue Injured Climber Near Sylvan Lake Fire

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) -- Wildland firefighters stepped in to rescue a 30-year-old woman who was struck in the back by a "microwave"-sized rock while climbing Saturday near the Lime Creek Trail.

A crew from the Sylvan Lake Fire operation overheard radio traffic about the incident as county dispatchers inquired with fire command about access to the scene.

Firefighters Injured Climber 1 (from USFS Sylvan Fire Info)
(credit: U.S. Forest Service/Sylvan Fire Info)

Dispatchers asked if Vail Rescue Group personnel could use 400 Road (a.k.a. Eagle-Thomasville Road) to respond. That road was occupied by firefighting equipment during the peak of the firefight, and was in fact a part of the planned containment line around the fire.

Firefighters Injured Climber 2 (from USFS Sylvan Fire Info)
(credit: U.S. Forest Service/Sylvan Fire Info)

The squad of firefighters that responded to the climber included medically certified personnel - an EMT, a medic, and a member of the Rapid Evacuation Module.

The unidentified woman was found 200 yards from the trail. She was conscious and complaining of "tingling in her feet."

Firefighters Injured Climber 3 (from USFS Sylvan Fire Info)
(credit: U.S. Forest Service/Sylvan Fire Info)

She was taken from the scene in an all-terrain vehicle to a Flight For Life medical helicopter. That copter took her to University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. Her updated condition, however, was not available.

Firefighters Injured Climber 4 (from USFS Sylvan Fire Info)
(credit: U.S. Forest Service/Sylvan Fire Info)

Kelsha Anderson of the U.S. Forest Service's Sylvan Fire Information Center said the fire crew shaved two to four hours off the response time to the woman.

"We felt like it was a good example of interagency cooperation," Anderson told CBS4. "It helped reduce the amount of time it took to respond to the incident."

Firefighters Injured Climber 5 (aerial of burn scar from Sylvan Fire Info on FB)
(credit: U.S. Forest Service/Sylvan Fire Info/Facebook)

The climbing accident occurred just outside the closure boundary established around the Sylvan Fire, which was first reported June 20. The fire had cooled recently and was measured at 3,792 acres and 68 percent containment.

Firefighters Injured Climber 6 (fire closure map from Sylvan Fire Info on FB)
The latest map of the Sylvan Lake Fire boundary. The Lime Creek area and 400 Road can be seen in the lower right corner. (credit: U.S. Forest Service/Sylvan Fire Info)

She said the crew was not immediately needed for the firefight, and was freed by command to respond to the climber's accident.

"They were happy that they were able to help."



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