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Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department

The Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services for the Gallatin River Ranch Rural Fire District located north of Manhattan, MT. The Fire District was established in December, 1999, by the Gallatin County Commission. The District covers about 9 square miles, 90 structures, and a full-time population of about 150. The GRR Fire Department was then organized under the supervision of an elected Board of Trustees. From 1999 to 2017 the department was run by a paid chief. The fire department changed to an all-volunteer model in May of 2017. The department is led by Chief Marlin Sprow and includes volunteer firefighters as well as reserve and auxiliary members.

FIRE STATION PROJECT

The Board of Trustees approved a project budget of $450,000 at their 5/11/22 meeting. A contractor has been identified. The contractor, architect, and Project Manager Rick McCourt are finalizing details with a plan to begin construction soon. Manhattan Bank is providing financing.

The GRRRFD Fire Station will house Engine-11, Brush 11-1, Tender-11, and Utility-11 in a location less than five road miles from every dwelling on GRR. This is the optimal location and configuration to meet the fire and emergency services needs of the GRRRFD community. The Fire District will devote around $150,000 in available funds to the project. A Fundraiser Campaign will be organized in the hope of reducing the amount of bank financing required to pay for this critical community safety project.

NIXON GULCH CLEANUP DAY   4/30/2022

We had a very successful Nixon Gulch Cleanup Day on Saturday, 4/30/22. The weather was idea, starting out in the 30s and rising to about 50 F. We worked on the area near the intersection of Nixon Gulch Road and Horseshoe Gulch. We removed a great deal of dead wood and ladder fuels along with a lot of trash and old barbed wire that have probably been rusting away from many decades. Our thanks to GRRHOA for allowing Marlin Sprow and Matt Neu to “work on the clock” to operate the HOA front-end loader and dump truck. Many thanks to the great volunteers who make this possible: Richard Anderson, Tim and Donna Knecht, Ted and Patti Draude, Rick Davis, Blake Maxwell, Jim Greenbaum, Deb Harvey, Jerry Rascano, Dennis and Alicia Ochs, and John Andrews.

The GRR Fire Department will burn the slash pile created by the cleanup. Marlin and Matt will dispose of the barbed wire and trash at the Gallatin County Landfill.

PLEASE DONATE

The GRR Rural Fire District is working on several projects that will significantly enhance safety for the people it serves. These include the Fire Station Project and the Water Source Project. Bids have been solicited for each project. The GRRRFD needs you help. Please consider donating to the GRRRFD. All donations will be used to defray the costs of the Fire Station Project. Donations to GRRRFD are tax-deductible under Section 170(c)(1) of the IRS Code. Please send donations to: Gallatin River Ranch Rural Fire District, PO Box 109, Manhattan, MT 59741. Thank you for considering us in your charitable giving plans!

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS

The GRR Fire Department needs more firefighters, EMTs, and reserve members. Volunteer fire departments like ours are the backbone non-law enforcement rural emergency services. One of the best and most rewarding ways to serve your community is to volunteer to join the fire department. If you are interested, please email us at: info@grrfd.org. For more information, look at the Get Involved section of this website.

GRRRFD WATER SOURCE PROJECT

The GRRRFD is adding a new firefighting water source at Castle Rock Pond, and plans to add to its capacity to access water from Mossy Rock Pond.

The Castle Rock Pond project is underway. A 6-inch pipe was trenched into the pond with a siphon at the end of underwater portion of the pipe. The pipe “daylights” with a “dry hydrant” in a location accessible to fire engines. We have a dry hydrant like this next to the pump house at River Camp. This project significantly improves water availability on GRR. This adds to the Fire District’s effort to improve the quality and effectiveness of fire protection on GRR. At its fullest, this pond is estimated to contain 2.2-million gallons. At its emptiest, it is probably less than a million but at least 500,000 gallons.

Mossy Rock Pond already has a 6-inch pipe that goes from the pond bottom to the pump house across the road from the pond. The GRRFD is evaluating ways to add one more point for water withdrawal from this pond. This project will probably be done in the spring of 2022. This well-fed artificial lined pond contains about 1.1-million gallons.

CASTLE ROCK POND WATER SOURCE PROJECT  DRY HYDRANT FOR WATER SOURCE PROJECT

WILDLAND FIRE PREPARATION AND PREVENTION

Wildland fires are a year-round risk due to persistent drought and warming. They can occur any month when conditions are right.  It is not a question of if, but when the next wildland fire will affect the GRR Rural Fire District.

The GRR Fire Department recommends that all property owners carry an ABC fire extinguisher in each vehicle, including ATVs and UTVs, to use in event of a fire. Vehicles should not travel off-road and should not travel along roads where un-mowed grass is present in the road bed due to the risk of hot exhaust systems igniting dry grass.

GRR Rural Fire District residents should register for the Gallatin County Emergency Notification System at:  https://www.readygallatin.com/public-warning/community-notification-system/. Please explore the Get Informed Education section of this website to review the Evacuation Plan and other information about wildland fire preparation and mitigation. This is particularly important for new GRR Rural Fire District residents.

The Wildland Fire Preparation and Prevention Program was established by the GRRRFD Trustees. A volunteer Wildland Fire Preparedness Committee was formed to facilitate this program. The Committee organized and mailed packets of information to all current GRRHOA owners in April of 2021. Packets have been given to Luna Properties for inclusion in the Welcome Packet the GRR HOA sends to new owners. Information about fire resistant landscaping will be sent to GRRHOA members who apply for Architectural Review Committee building project approval as a reminder.

SAFETY TIPS FROM THE GRR FIRE DEPARTMENT

May 2022

May is National Wildfire Awareness Month.

Consider getting a free Wildland Fire Risk Assessment from the GRR Fire Department. Contact Chief Sprow marlinsprow32@gmail.com, or email admin@grrfd.org to set up an appointment.

This is a time to clear winter debris from the lawn and gardens. Rake up leaves or evergreen needles from under trees, bushes, and around the home. It’s also a good time to trim trees. Trimming the lowest branches of trees is one way to prevent fire spread from grass fires into the trees. Here are a couple of links you can follow for more information: https://www.extension.uidaho.edu/publishing/pdf/bul/bul0644.pdf, and https://www.montana.edu/news/5742/taking-care-of-shade-trees.

If you are thinking about landscaping projects, keep fire risk in mind. Check out the GRRFD website Getting Informed section for more information about wildland fire preparedness recommendations: http://www.grrrfd.org/get-informed/.

Weeds become tinder for wildland fires later in the summer. May is the time to begin your control efforts. Russian thistle and Kochia form flammable tumbleweed later in the summer. Cheatgrass has been invading GRR for a number of years and becomes very flammable when it dries after going to seed. Review the GRRHOA Weed Management Plan on the GRRHOA Frontsteps website for details on how to control these and other weeds.

Please visit the GRR Fire Department website to learn more: http://www.grrrfd.org/.


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