Castle Valley Comments: Jan. 30, 2020

Ron Drake

Five members of the Castle Valley Fire Department attended Winter Fire School in St. George this past weekend. The Utah Fire and Rescue Academy sponsor the annual event, which is in association with Utah Valley University.

Every January the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy conducts a fire training school in St. George. Winter Fire School is an event that has evolved in scope and size and is considered to be one of the largest of its type in the nation. It began 20 years ago with just three classes and fewer than 100 students and instructors and has grown to 70 classes and over 700 students, instructors and support staff. It also now has a large vendor show consisting of over 60 vendors representing fire, rescue, and emergency medical equipment.

The five Castle Valley firefighters who attended were Lesley Craig, Jazmine Duncan, Harry Holland, Bill Morck, and Mitch Stock. Three of them took a two-day Fire Operations in the Urban Interface class. Firefighter Craig described it as a really good course that offered a good perspective on fighting fires in areas like ours in Castle Valley. The objective of that class was to operate safely and effectively in a wildland/urban interface incident by using situational awareness, performing structure triage, using preplanning tools, having a basic understanding of fire behavior, and using strategy and tactics unique to the wildland/urban interface environment.

Firefighter Holland said the Rural Incident Command class was very interesting while trying to learn 10 years worth of information in just one day. The Live Fire Training/Initial Fire Attack class that he took the next day was physically challenging and involved crawling around in the dark looking for victims and pulling a charged hose through a structure.

The objective of that class was to provide demonstrations and training for interior structural fire attack operations, incident command, personnel accountability, fire behavior, attack strategies, forcible entry, and fire stream management.

One of Firefighter Morck’s classes was the Live Fire Training – Fire Behavior/Flashover class. That intense class involved witnessing fire behavior in a confined environment and described signs to look for and skills needed to survive a flashover. The students in this course rotate from classroom to the flashover prop and back to the classroom to maximize the time and training.

The fire department is excited to send members of the team to the Winter Fire School every year for the in-depth training that they receive from fire professionals from all over the country. The fire academy will also bring some of these training modules to fire departments across the state for specific individual training and the Castle Valley Fire Department also takes advantage of these training opportunities at various times during the year. In addition, UFRA holds regional training schools around the state with one in Moab Oct. 9-10.


Those of us who knew Mynoa Williams were saddened to learn of her untimely death last Sunday, Jan. 26 at the age of 70 years. She died suddenly and unexpectedly at the University of Utah Medical Center shortly after emergency surgery.

Mynoa and her husband, Alan moved to Castle Valley in March of 1991 and lived on lower Shafer Lane for 20 years while raising their 12 children, some of whom attended and graduated from Grand County schools. She was a picture of health for those 70 years, having never visited a doctor or spent a night in a medical facility. She was an active lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities while attending the Castle Valley Branch of the church. A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 in Orem at the corner of Center Street and 400 West.


It was announced 40 years ago this week that the newly formed Castle Valley Co-op had recently received a business license to operate in Castle Valley. The co-op was planning to expand its products to include animal feed and farm implements. Fred Officer, the driving force behind the formation of the co-op, also announced the possibility of purchasing a small bus to provide service to Moab from Castle Valley.

The co-op did eventually purchase a small 18-passenger bus from the Grand County School District and operated the bus for about three months as the “Teeney Weeney Buslines.” I drove that bus during that summer, making one round trip per day, until it was decided to discontinue due to lack of ridership. Residents were (and probably still are) too independent and busy to rely on public transportation to Moab.