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    Lone Pioche Soldier battles two relentless Nevada enemies: wildfires and pandemic

    1864th Soldier fights wildfires and COVID with the Nevada Guard

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie | Pfc. Cheyenne Romans (left) with Task Force South COVID-19 response “strike team”,...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsie 

    17th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Section

    LAS VEGAS – Pfc. Cheyenne Romans of the 1864th Motor Transportation Company has thwarted attacks on multiple fronts this year.

    For much of the summer, Romans, 20, of Pioche, was on the wildfire front lines in northern Nevada and helped quench the blazes that burned more than 100,000 acres. Her service to the state didn’t stop when the fires were doused: She currently serves with Task Force South in the battle against the deadly coronavirus in Las Vegas. In the Nevada Army Guard, she’s a motor transport operator with the 1864th.

    Romans said she spent the majority of the summer alongside some of the best firefighters in the nation while employed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the 2020 fire season.

    The BLM’s Nevada Fire and Aviation office oversees about 48 million acres of public land in Nevada. The Silver State has the second largest Fire and Aviation program within the Bureau behind only Alaska. It has six district offices located in Las Vegas, Ely, Carson City, Winnemucca, Elko and Battle Mountain.

    Out of 3,200 Soldiers, Romans is the only Nevada Guard Soldier who resides in the southeastern Nevada town of Pioche. The Old-West town serves as the county seat for Lincoln County, Nevada, and has a population of about 1,200. Romans works as an emergency medical technician for Lincoln County when not battling fires or on National Guard duty.

    In June, Romans put on her firefighter gear for the first time and joined the members of the Pony Springs BLM Fire Station to battle against a series of wildfires that ravaged northern Nevada. The past summer was Romans’ first season as a firefighter and she quickly learned the tricks of the trade, including how to proficiently wield a chain saw, axe and shovel.

    “Once I arrived at my first fire, it was non-stop action,” Romans said. “In no time, I was running the saw, learning how to dig line and working with my team.”

    The rookie firefighter quickly assumed a crucial role during the wildfire-fighting operations. One of her main jobs was to clear dead trees and snags. Once the trees and snags were cut down or removed, teams would dig a line around the flames and allow that specific portion of the fire to burn itself out. Often, the trees and snags were very dry and brittle and created dangerous situations.

    “The trees that were in flames and severely burned are very weak,” Romans said. “They are at high risk of falling and possibly injuring firefighters. You have to cut those down and control the line.”

    The soot, heat, and exhaustion from firefighting in the rugged northern Nevada wilderness didn’t stop Romans from battling a second enemy later in the summer. Once she helped the BLM quell the wildfires in northern Nevada, she traveled south to Las Vegas and began a new fight against coronavirus.

    Romans is now on the coronavirus mission for the Nevada Army Guard and is a member of the Las Vegas Strike Team, a section within Task Force South. The team has tested more than 1,000 people since she joined the team October 1. The small group is renowned for its ability to quickly support Southern Nevada Health District requests for rapid mobile testing at community based collection sites.

    In September, Task Force South tested more than 25,000 people in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

    “The military has been a great experience for me,” Romans said. “It’s sometimes scary to be in unfamiliar territory, whether in a wildfire fight or on a coronavirus health response mission. Although I may find myself in a frightening or uncomfortable situation, my training has taught me to overcome that fear.

    “That is really important to me and has helped me overcome a real obstacle in my life (conquering trepidation). I feel better prepared to face that challenge, now more than ever.”



    Date Taken: 10.28.2020
    Date Posted: 10.29.2020 16:24
    Story ID: 382041
    Location: LAS VEGAS, NV, US 
    Hometown: PIOCHE, NV, US

    Web Views: 794
    Downloads: 1