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Black Range District Ranger Receives National Award

Photo: Larry Cosper

TRUTH or CONSEQUENCES, N.M., May 28, 2014 –Larry Cosper, Black Range District Ranger, Gila National Forest, is the recipient of the 2013 National Fire Line Officer Team award for "Excellence in Line Officer Commitment to Firefighter and Public Safety." The award acknowledges Cosper's work with state, county, and local agencies, disaster relief personnel, volunteer fire departments and the Hillsboro and Kingston communities during the 2013 Silver Fire.

The award also recognizes his previous work with the community and N.M. State Forestry to establish a firebreak around Kingston, now an accepted endeavor to help protect the town from wildfire. Cosper became the main contact for information on the fire by conducting daily meetings and working with residents in the middle of the night to ensure evacuations were prompt and safe. These community meetings continued after the fire when severe flooding impacted the area.

Gila National Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell congratulates Cosper on this important award, "Larry is from this area and knows the community well. His work with the Incident Management Team on strategies that were right for the area contributed to firefighter and public safety andimproved overall relations in the community."

Cosper says, "I am humbled by this recognition. I was only doing my job and without the support of all the people involved both agency and private citizens, the outcome could have been much different."

The 139,000-acre Silver Fire started June 7, 2013 and was contained July 18, 2013. There were no major injuries on the fire.

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