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Enterprising teens find summer job mitigating fire danger

Published On: Jun 20 2013 03:57:47 PM CDT

Two teens are helping to keep homes safe from wildfires


Black garbage bags covered Charles Dahlem’s yard, and the two teens filling the bags knew they were only half way finished.

“We’ve been working all day since 8 this morning,” said 13-year-old Mitchell Colander.

Working with his cousin, 16-year-old Ryan Swenson, the pair was hired to rake, pile and fill garbage bags with pine cones and needles.

“It’s so dry, just like gas pretty much,” Colander said.

“We try to keep it cleaned up because pine needles burn pretty quick if they catch fire,” Dahlem said.

Dahlem hired them after he saw the good work the teens did on their grandmother’s yard.

“You see on the news some of the way the firemen work the lower level to keep it from taking over a house,” Dahlem said.

Keeping his half acre clean and free of flammable debris is motivation enough after the Black Forest Fire raged just a couple of miles from his wooded home near Fox Run. 

But the two teens are motivated by the same thing that has motivated teens for countless summers.

“I want to buy a car,” Swenson said.


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