Alpine View station back on the fire line

Members of the East Fork Genoa Peak Fire & Fuels Team pose for a photo with Chief Tod Carlini in front of Station 15, which started life as a real estate office a half-century ago.

Members of the East Fork Genoa Peak Fire & Fuels Team pose for a photo with Chief Tod Carlini in front of Station 15, which started life as a real estate office a half-century ago.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

A half-century after the Jacks Valley Volunteer Fire Department was formed, its original home has found new life housing the Genoa Peak Fire & Fuels Team.

Originally constructed as a real estate office for the Alpine View development, it was donated to serve that corner of Douglas County. The department started fundraising in 1973 to purchase equipment.

The department and station predated the formation of the East Fork Fire Protection District and volunteers reported to the Nevada Department of Forestry, former Chief Ray Bacon recalled on Tuesday.

The lot for the pale green cinder block building was recorded in late 1972 as a “roadside rest area and firehouse,” according to the Douglas County Assessor’s Office. The site indicated the structure was built in 1974.

It features a plaque dedicated to longtime State Forester Lody Smith, who organized and equipped 18 volunteer fire departments during his tenure. The station was part of the former Sierra Forest Fire Protection District.

“For a long time we were reporting to NDF, so our trucks were all green,” Bacon said. “We stayed with NDF for a long time.”

For the first half-dozen years, the building didn’t have heat or a bathroom, so volunteers would find winter meetings pretty chilly, Bacon said.

“We never had people stationed there,” he said. “We had maybe 15-20 feet we could put together folding tables behind the fire truck.”

All that changed when as part of the agreement to develop Indian Hills, a fire station was built on Princeton around 1980.

“The county didn’t even tell us they were doing that,” Bacon said “They built the fire station for us before we knew that they had,  and donated it to the Jacks Valley Fire Department. When we got willed the other station we would meet there.”

With around 40 members, including 25 active firefighters, the Jacks Valley volunteers responded to fires and medical calls on their own.

“We had several pretty good EMTs,” Bacon said. “We peaked out at five. Highway 395 was still two lanes back then. People would come out of Carson drunk and hit the dark and then couldn’t find the road.”

The station was improved in the late 1980s to make it more habitable.

Commissioners approved adding the Jacks Valley Department to East Fork on July 14, 1988, bringing both fire stations along for the ride. By 2016, the Jacks Valley Volunteer Fire Department had disbanded, donating the last of its funds for the purchase of a new defibrillator. The station built for the volunteers in Indian Hills was sold in 2020.

Over the last decade, the station in Alpine View was leased to the U.S. Forest Service.  Last fall, the Forest Service moved its operations to the Ruhenstroth fire station under a similar lease with East Fork.

But on Aug. 30, the old station was rechristened to serve as the new home of East Fork Fire Protection District’s Fuel Management Crew.

The opening marked the completion of $202,000 of work on the station, to serve the crew, paid for in part by NV Energy to clear fuels from around power infrastructure and fight wildfires that threaten the assets.

The remodel included shower facilities, a day room and kitchen, and a small office area for the crew supervisors.  The crew currently consists for 10 full-time equivalent personnel and up to eight seasonal positions. Central Sierra Construction was the contractor on the project, that  was jointly funded by the fire district and NV Energy.

The station will house two Type V Engines and the chipper truck.  During the fire season the station is staffed with personnel seven days a week. 

“During the Tamarack and Caldor Fires, the crews funded by NV Energy became ‘force multipliers’ during the event, both in terms of actual fire suppression and in emergency fuels mitigate work in and around NV Energy assets,” Chief Tod Carlini said. “The station will also serve as a PSOM location for NV Energy during planned and unplanned outages.  While this a very rare occurrence, having a location in this part of the district, serving the residents of Alpine View, Clear Creek, and Indian Hill to some extent, adds additional capacity during emergency situations.”

Carlini said working with the power company is perhaps the best public-private partnership in which he has been involved.


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