Fire Protection Q & A Fire Jurisdiction
The proposed establishment of the Estes Valley Fire Protection District to provide fire and rescue services to the entire Estes Valley will go to the voters this November. Each week until the election, the Fire Services Initiative Committee will answer questions submitted by the residents of the Estes Valley. Questions are being grouped by subject. This week, the questions involve fire jurisdiction.
Q. Who pays for fires on federal and state land?
A. The agency that has jurisdiction where the fire started is responsible. If the fire spreads to adjoining lands belonging to another jurisdiction, that jurisdiction will help with the cost. If the fire is large enough to bring in a federal fire command team, then the federal government would also help pay for fire suppression. (Ultimately, it is the taxpayer who pays.)
Q. Doesn’t Larimer County fire protection cover county residents?
A. No. The Larimer County Sheriff has legal responsibility for fire protection on properties not included in municipal department boundaries or fire protection districts. However, the county has only wildfire crews and has no firefighters or apparatus for structure fires. The Sheriff has agreements with fire departments to provide structure fire protection and first response to wildfires.
Q. Can county residents create their own Fire Protection District?
A. We are one community; we only need one Fire Department. County residents attempted to establish a “donut” fire protection district around the Town of Estes Park to contract with the Town to guarantee equal fire and rescue services throughout the county. The Town would have paid 60% of the fire department costs from Town general funds and the county residents would have paid 40% of the costs from property tax revenues. The majority of voters did not approve this plan.
Q. Will subscription fees for county residents go away? When?
A. Yes. If the Fire Protection District is voted in, fees would go away in 2010 when taxes would be collected to fund the district. Current subscription funding is scheduled to be in place until the Fire Protection District is formed on January 1, 2010, if the voters approve the plan.
Q. What will be the coverage area for the proposed fire protection district?
A. The same area as currently covered by the Estes Park Volunteer Fire Department’s extended response area. This area encompasses 66 square miles and has a year-round population of about 10,000. Although the RMNP is outside the proposed district, the fire department has an agreement with the national park to provide protection for structural fires east of the divide in the park.
Q. Who will run the district?
A. The elected board of directors will oversee the entire Fire Protection District. The voters will elect five directors who also must live within the district.
If you have any questions concerning the proposed establishment of the Estes Valley Fire Protection District you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.evfireservices.org.