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Wildfire coordinator brings passion, planning experience to Colo. FD

Loveland Fire Rescue Authority’s wildfire coordinator will launch a campaign to educate the public on wildfire preparation

By Jocelyn Rowley
Loveland Reporter-Herald

LOVELAND, Colo. — Colorado-native Tyler Nethe has been either battling against, planning for or working to prevent wildfire for the entire two-decade span of his firefighting career. Now he is bringing that expertise to the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority as its first-ever wildfire coordinator.

“It’s where my passion for the job really lies,” Nethe said on Thursday, his fourth day on the job. “Not that I don’t enjoy all the other aspects of it, but this is where my niche is, if you will.”

That niche has most recently taken him across Colorado and to four other states as a division supervisor with the Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team, a unit of firefighters that can be dispatched to assist on wildfires across the county.

“There are three teams that are assigned to the Rocky Mountain region,” Nethe explained. “And so we’re first up for anything within the region. Beyond that, we can go anywhere.”

During his time with the team, Nethe traveled to wildfires in New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington state. Before that, he also worked as a firefighter in Grand Junction, where he assisted that department with its wildfire plan. His career also includes stints with other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, where he started his career.

For LFRA Chief Tim Sendlebach, that experience made Nethe stand out as a candidate for the brand new position, and helps the authority “hit the ground running” in the race to harden Loveland and its surroundings to what is one of its biggest threats. As coordinator, Nethe will help implement LFRA’s newly adopted Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), a master plan for preparing for and preventing widespread destruction.

“We’re certainly trying to play catch up,” Sendelbach said. “But with his experience in the region, I think we can get a jump-start and start doing the mitigation that’s absolutely necessary.”

Nethe will work out of LFRA station 8 in Drake. As wildfire coordinator, he has been tasked with managing the authority’s wildfire policy implementation, leading prevention and mitigation efforts and working with other agencies in the region, among other duties.

His first order of business will be a public outreach campaign aimed at educating residents within LFRA’s territory about tools and resources they can use to prepare their properties to successfully withstand a potential wildfire, which could be a timely message this summer.

“With a drier winter and the large grass crop we got from last year’s moisture, it has us a little bit more prepared for a potentially busier season,” Nethe said. “And we’ve already seen that a little bit this spring with more fires than we had this time last year.”

In the coming weeks, Nethe will also be hiring a team of seasonal staff to start working directly on mitigation and fuel reduction projects in high-risk areas west of the city. This is not to say that he won’t be keeping an eye on the eastern part of LFRA’s territory.

“The risk is there in both, it just changes based on different variables,” he said. “Down here, it’s not as risky when there’s not wind. But when there is, it can be a high risk.”

When he is not battling, mitigating or thinking about wildfire, Nethe helps his wife keep up with their dog, goats and chickens on a mini-farm west of Fort Collins.

For more information on LFRA’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), visit

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