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Albany County Fire District 1 {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: Four years with no term limits, expiration dates staggered for the three members of this nonpartisan board.Salary: None.Who can vote: Only registered voters who live in the district, which encompasses most of the central and southern part of Albany County outside Laramie. How many to vote for: Two; those elected join Art Siegel whose term ends in 2022.

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  • Candidate picture

    Luke Hawkins
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    W.Charles Looney
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Shawn Sommerfeld
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Brett Wadsworth
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Joseph Witt
    (NP)

Biographical Information

"Biographical information

Is there anything you would urge the Legislature, County Commissioners or their appointed boards or commissions to do to make fire fighting easier for the district?

What are the three top challenges facing ACFD#1 and how would you address them?

What are the most important things for residents of the district to know about protecting their buildings from wildfires?

Campaign Phone (307) 760-1895
Facebook LukeHawkinsACFD1
Street Address 6020 Chaparral Dr Laramie, WY 82070
Phone 307-760-1895
Instagram HawkinsforACFD1
Email Address HawkinsforACFD1@gmail.com
Party Affiliation Nonpartisan
I have been a FireFighter/Paramedic for almost 17 years with LFD, CVVFD, RRVFD and MVFR. Some of that time as the EMS Coordinator working and training with local Fire Fighters and helped create an EMT/AEMT class that is currently running strong! Volunteer coach, serve on the board for a local Scouting Troop, currently serve on the board for my local Fire Fighters Union and started a non-profit LWBC. It is here that my family has consciously put down roots to raise our family with our 4 children; Graisen attends LMS, Fischer and Dalley attend LHS, Easton and my wife Jolene attend LCCC.
Some of the things I would urge our legislators, county commissioners do to make Fire Fighting more manageable within our district is to address the number of volunteers we have serving within our community. Recruitment and Retention must be addressed and invested in or we will be faced with shutting down more departments that cannot be staffed. The needs of the community are greater than ever before and will continue to increase, we need to be progressive in forecasting those needs and the growing populations in the county.
Staffing. Recruiting able and willing people to fill the seats and stations to meet the needs of our community. Training. Especially during these odd times, getting the quality training that will raise our County Fire Fighters to the level that will meet the needs of our community. Retention. Always a difficult task in a small community is to then retain the quality highly trained Fire Fighters. We need to grow and invest in ACFD#1 Departments, support the Chiefs, meet their needs to ensure a successful future for service to the citizens of Albany County.
Education and action help mitigate urban interface. Local departments should hold periodic education training to their specific areas that will help specialize individual needs. This includes removing shrubs/foliage within 10 feet, clearing roof lines and gutters. Increasing water supply near buildings, preferably not electricity dependent, such as retention ponds, dry hydrants etc. Improving access to the buildings to large enough for a fire apparatus to access and improve address identifications. FEMA Home Builders Guide to Construction is the Wildfire Zone is a great reference as well.
Campaign Phone (307) 343-0199
Street Address 17 South St Laramie, WY 82072
Phone 307-343-0199
Email Address c_looney298@hotmail.com
I am an Albany county resident since 2014 moved to Laramie to obtain a second degree from the University of Wyoming. Previously employed with the Albany county school district and I have been involved in fire suppression since 1988 (when job and time allowed) with other county agencies and forest service and BLM fire crews, Including smokey bear hotshots. My skill and knowledge of fire behavior and suppression tactics can be an asset for Albany county.
I would urge county commissioners for better distribution of funding for all fire department and a higher standard of training to ensure all firefighters are well trained. County crews from my experience are lacking in training.
As mentioned, lack of training, and lack of leadership, and physical conditioning among crews are some of the major problems that need to be addressed. The good old boy mentality of firefighters being written off or penciled in for fitness test because of someone in a position to do so is just one example.
Firefighters should spend more time on public relations educating property owners on proper maintenance of their property to reduce the risk of fire fuels on property and placement of fire breaks. Removing dead and light vegetation from around building and keeping a 30-foot access perimeter around their residence, and removing debris from roofs and gutters. Residents should have an evacuations plan and an emergency bag ready in case of a needed evacuation.
Campaign Phone (307) 703-0269
Street Address 14 Meadow Acres Rd Laramie, WY 82070
Phone 307-703-0269
Email Address shawnsommerfeld@gmail.com
Party Affiliation Nonpartisan
I have been a firefighter within ACFD1 for approximately 4 years starting as a wildland firefighter and now I am structure fire qualified along with EMT-B. I regularly dispatch around the state and Rocky Mountain region to fight the larger wildfires. I started out in Big Laramie Valley VFD as the Secretary and two years ago was elected to Chief. I retired out of the US Army in 2015, after 22.5 years, where I was trained how to lead, complete missions, and take care of people. I was successful in the Army and now as a VFD Chief because my networking, problem solving, and organizational skills.
Fire Suppression is challenging when you consider the varying weather, terrain, human factors, and fiscal challenges that are found within Albany County. Local and state government can support ACFD1 by identifying the top 3 challenges the fire departments face and emphasizing them when planning, especially in new roads and housing developments. Can a fire department get their apparatus there quickly and safely? Is there an adequate water source? Will communications be an issue? These issues should be addressed. Encouraging and supporting Volunteer Firefighters is PARAMOUNT
Fiscal responsibility and accountability is the #1 challenge for ACFD1. The budget and spending policies need to be semi-stable, predictable, and controlled at the lowest level. ACFD1 depends on volunteers to conduct all its fire suppression. Recruiting, training, and keeping volunteer firefighters is PARAMOUNT. I would create an environment of respect, transparency, and support that puts FIREFIGHTERS FIRST. Public involvement is another top challenge. The general public is not aware of who or how their fire and/or emergency medical needs are met within the ACFD1. This needs to change.
ACFD1 residents need to understand that fire needs fuel to burn and grow. Protect any structure/building on your property by limiting the amount of dry quick burning fuels that are around it. Fuels such as dry tall grass or trees with low-lying branches within close proximity of a structure can be high risk. Buildings are also fuel and if they are built of a flammable material or with many places a hot ember can set, they are at a higher risk of catching on fire. There are resources available to get advice and to help mitigate the risk. Get with your local fire department for more.
Campaign Phone (307) 399-4192
Street Address PO Box 1470 Laramie, WY 82073
Phone 307-399-4192
Email Address brett.a.wadsworth@gmail.com
Party Affiliation Nonpartisan
I have lived in Albany County for the past twelve years after retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps. My career in the Marines included experience as an FA-18 pilot, Forward Air Controller, Marine Aviation Weapons School Instructor, Staff Officer at HQMC, and Commanding Officer of MWHS-1. I am the Flight Center Director & Chief Research Pilot at UW. Since 2013 I have been the Fire Chief at VVFD and was appointed to the Laramie Regional Airport Board last year. I am committed to serving my community after a career serving my country.
First, I would urge the various governmental agencies & commissions to ensure that all proposals for industrial power generation sites must abide by NFPA 850 (National Fire Protection Association) recommendations for fire extinguishing systems to ensure appropriate measures are designed into these facilities for the safety of all residents and of first responders. Additionally, I would ask that they keep in-mind the hundreds of hours of cumulative effort that are freely donated annually by our volunteers and to seek ways to recognize and encourage such selfless service in any way possible.
Well-being of fire-fighters. Volunteers must feel that they are treated with concern by leadership for their efforts, health & impacts to their desire to serve. Distribution of resources. Ensuring that all resources are equitably distributed among the various departments is essential to prevent animosity among these partner organizations. Providing the best fire protection. Ensuring that the contract with the City of Laramie for provision of a professional fire-fighting crew to support ACFD 1 continues. This contract must not be jeopardized simply to save funds for the District.
Create a “buffer zone” around your house where excess combustible items (natural & manmade) are cleared. Eliminate excess clutter which can catch sparks. Cut grass & remove clippings. Rake tree-litter (including branches & needles) & take to the landfill. Move all collections of flammable items (wood, trash, etc.) away from your home. Trim or remove bushes that are near any structures. Remove “ladder” branches from trees. Lastly, do it soon. Waiting until a wildfire starts is much too late.
Mailing Address PO Box 57
Laramie, WY 82055
Campaign Phone (307) 721-9010
Street Address PO Box 57 Laramie, WY 82055
Phone 307-721-9010
Email Address josephshirley_witt@msn.com
Party Affiliation Nonpartisan
I have BS degree in accounting and master’s in public administration. I spent 20 years as a volunteer fire fighter in Wyoming. I retired after 32 years with the Department of Defense with the last five years spent working in a plans and program organization where requests from different services were prioritized to meet national priorities; a necessary experience for a fire district board member which funds five stations, all with very different capabilities.
ACFD#1 holds a monthly public meeting to consider department requests and expenditures. I feel it would be helpful if one of the County Commissioners attended these meetings to become familiar with District issues
The top challenge for ACFD#1 is volunteer recruitment in an aging population and the 3mil limit on funding. I hope it will be possible to use County Impact Funds from Wind Farms to upgrade older stations and replace aging equipment.
Residents should protect their buildings by having smoke detectors, avoid storing firewood against their residence, avoid storing flammable materials in garages/sheds and create defensible space around home and buildings.