The East Fork Fire Protection District is leasing a portion of Ruhenstroth, Fire Station 10, to the U.S. Forest Service.
The Forest Service has been operating out of the Jacks Valley Fire Station Station 15 for years.
The move to Ruhenstroth is necessary to accommodate the relocation of its Fire and Fuels crew to the fire station in Alpine View on Jacks Valley Road.
An interim lease is designed to allow the Forest Service to make the move now. A longer-term lease will be pursued by both parties. East Fork had a 15-year lease with the BLM several years ago for the Fish Springs Station 9.
“The District and the USFS have had and continue to have a very positive and productive relationship,” East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said.
With the expansion of both personnel and equipment additional room was also needed.
“This is a win-win situation for both the District and Forest Service” Carlini said. “We will be able to place our Fire and Fuels crew in the Jacks Valley area, have better access to the Clear Creek and north of Jacks Valley Road area. The USFS will have larger facility and house additional personnel and equipment year-round.”
The threat of wildland fire is perhaps the biggest concern for the district, Carlini said.
“Having the USFS in the Ruhenstroth area is very advantageous for the District,” he said.
Over time the district has struggled to keep a roster of volunteers at the Ruhenstroth Station. Carlini said the district is hoping to change that, just as it did in the Sheridan area several years ago.
Through the lease agreement with the USFS, the distict will be maintaining space for a volunteer contingent. The district will continue to house a Type I Engine and 3,000-gallon water tender at this location. Under the district’s current volunteer deployment model, the volunteer’s primary task is water supply in areas without a municipal type system.
Additionally, volunteer personnel support the logistical needs of incidents and are trained for wildland firefighting. Volunteer recruitment efforts are seeing some positive gains over the past couple of years.
“The district’s proposed fire regulations, which have become necessary since Douglas County Commissioners did a wholesale repeal of the residential fire sprinkler requirements, incorporates the ability of the volunteers and the District to bring the necessary water to those areas and in meeting the fire flow requirements in the Fire Code,” Carlini said.
The Forest Service has had resources within the district for well over 20 years now and has continued to maintain strong relationships with the local firefighters.
“We are excited to be moving into Station 10,” said Carson District Ranger, Matt Zumstein. “It gives us better access to the southern end of the Carson Ranger District, provides more space for our expanding workforce, and meets the needs and requirements that East Fork Fire has for Jacks Valley Station. We agree that it is a win-win situation and appreciate East Fork Fire’s willingness to work with us on solutions to facility issues that meet everyone’s needs.”
Five day a week staffing by the USFS began on Oct. 10. They will house 2 type 3 wildland engines and 1 patrol truck and 7 personnel per day, Monday through Friday. During the fire season, staffing will include an additional eight personnel and staffing will be on a seven day a week basis. The Ruhenstroth Station is still available for approved community use under the current policies.