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STARS Forms In Burrton To Organize Support For First Responders

Posted 7/6/2017

By Jared Janzen

BURRTON—The past two years, Burrton fire crews have been involved in battling several massive wildfires in the area. Out of those experiences came a need for a better system to support firefighters as they work long, hot hours, and so a few months ago a fire/EMS auxiliary was formed.

The auxiliary is called STARS, an acronym for Standing Together As Responders Serve. So far they’ve grown to about 15 members.

In recent years during the 2016 wildfires north of Burrton and the fires in Reno County this past March, the wives of some Burrton volunteer firefighters have cooked meals and offered general assistance however they could. In April, this evolved into STARS as a way to coordinate those efforts.

“The wives are always the ones trying to keep everything going as far as getting food to them or supplies that they need, so we thought this would be a better way for us to organize,” said Jaclyn Hotzrichter, coordinator for STARS.

Holzrichter explained that during large wildfires, crews often don’t have time to stop and eat, so the wives prepare meals and deliver them onsite. Before STARS, efforts to assist firefighters were hectic.

“A single point of contact is what we were looking for because we would have so many people who were calling and wanting to know how they could help, and there was no one person who had any answers,” said Monica Leonard, another member of STARS.

Last year during the wildfires north of town, Burrton had crews from about 30 different organizations bring 84 fire apparatus in to battle the blazes. Holzrichter and Leonard said that if another large-scale fire were to happen in the area, STARS would try to support all of them. In addition to food, little things like chapstick and hand wipes can make a big difference.

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