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. The fire department members are all unpaid volunteers. The department is led by Chief Marlin Sprow and includes volunteer firefighters as well as reserve and auxiliary members.

Gallatin County fire departments are numbered for easy identification purposes. The Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department is “Department 11”. The vehicles of the department all carry that number, for example, Engine-11.

The website administrator has resigned and will be moving. The GRRRFD Board of Trustees has not found a volunteer to take over that role. As a result, the site may not be updated after May, 2024. Those interested in reviewing meeting minutes and financial information after that date should contact the Board of Trustees. Meeting announcements will be posted on the bulletin board across from the GRR cluster box mail units at the “Pony Express” at the front of GRR and on the GRR Information Group Facebook page. Monthly fire safety tips will be posted on the Facebook page and will be sent to GRRHOA members by email.


Fire Station 1 is located at 480 Equestrian Center Loop Road. It includes the Fire Chief’s office and houses the medical quick response unit, QRU-11. This is a non-transporting 1994 Type-3 ambulance. It is brought to to medical emergencies in the GRR Rural Fire District by the chief or firefighters to augment the medical equipment available, and carries the department’s LifePak 15 and LUCAS external cardiac compressor.  Medical personnel typically respond directly to medical calls while a firefighter brings the QRU.

Station 1 is in the same building as the Chief’s house.


The department’s firefighting apparatus and equipment are housed in Station 2, located at 5770 Nixon Gulch Road. This is within five road miles of all the dwellings on GRR. It is in the same building as the Gallatin River Ranch HOA shop.

The vehicles housed in this facility include: Engine-11, Tender-11, Brush-11.1, Brush-11.2, and Utility-11 as well as our inventory of hoses, extra fire extinguishers, our floating portable pump, and firefighter personal protective equipment.

We are continuing the fundraiser in order to prepay down the $300,000 mortgage that was necessary to complete the project. Please donate to the Fire Station Fundraiser if you have not already done so. Donations to the 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. All donations will be used to pay down the mortgage principal.


All GRR residents should register with the Gallatin County Emergency Management Community Notification System. This is the primary warning system Gallatin County uses to notify residents of emergencies, disasters, and evacuation orders. This can be found at: https://www.readygallatin.com/public-warning/community-notification-system/. This is the only system that provides immediate notification of pre-evacuation warnings and evacuation orders for properties in the GRR Fire District. With that in mind, please review the GRRRFD Evacuation plan in the GRRFD website: https://www.grrrfd.org/get-informed/


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: [email protected]. For more information, look at the Get Involved section of this website.


The Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department has 8,850 gallons of “water on wheels” in Fire Station 2 and the adjacent GRR Homeowner Association shop.  Engine-11 with 1,500 gallons is the primary response vehicle for structure fires and has a 1,250-gallon-per-minute pump. Brush 11.1 is the primary wildland fire response vehicle, a typical Type 6 brush truck, carrying 250 gallons of water. Brush-11.2 carries 1,100 gallons of water and is, essentially, our wildland water tender with pump and roll capability. Tender-11 carries 2,000 gallons of water. The GRRRFD has a contractual agreement enabling it to also use the GRRHOA water tender. This carries 4,000 gallons and includes a cab-mounted and cab-controlled “water cannon” and a separate rear-mounted hose reel.

Castle Rock Pond, located near the intersection of Nixon Gulch Road and Double D Lane, has 6-inch pipe trenched underground into the pond which “daylights” with a dry hydrant in a location accessible to fire engines year round. 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. The access spur road to the dry hydrant has a Fire Lane, No Parking sign in place. Water availability from this source may vary with season as the pond surface freezes in the winter and may prevent accessing water from the dry hydrant. During dry season conditions the pond water level may be below the end of the dry hydrant pipe. The department’s floating pump can be used to access water under those conditions.

Mossy Rock Pond at the intersection of Horseshoe Gulch Road and Mossy Rock Road has a 6-inch underground pipe that goes from the pond bottom to the heated pump house across the road from the pond. This well-fed artificial lined pond contains about 1.1-million gallons. Since this pipe is underground and ends at the bottom of the pond, water can be sourced from the pond year-round. The GRRFD has built a short spur road to the side of the pond to enable fire vehicles to draft water directly from the pond when the surface is not frozen. This will more than double the rate we can pull water from the pond in the event of a fire.

The Gallatin River is available for firefighting water access and provides an unlimited volume of firefighting water year-round.

The Manhattan Volunteer Fire Department automatically responds to all fires on GRR. The specifics of its apparatus will not be detailed here. It can source additional water from the Manhattan fire hydrant system.

A private pond on the southeast side of GRR has been made available by a generous property owner. Its exact gallon volume is not clear but likely exceeds 100,000 gallons. There are several other private ponds accessible by helicopter that could be used in the event of aerial attack during a wildland fire. If you have, or plan to construct a pond, consider allowing the fire department to access it for firefighting use in the event of a large fire. Contact Chief Sprow for details.

The GRRRFD is a participant in the Gallatin County mutual aid agreement, drawing potential mutual aid from the any and all the other fire departments in the county. The GRRRFD has an automatic aid agreement with the Manhattan Volunteer Fire Department, as above.


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. Gallatin county organized a nearly identical program in around 2022. The GRRRFD Board of Trustees decided to recommend that interested residents use that program rather than to run a separate program. The GRRRFD strongly encourages all district property and home owners to educate themselves about wildland fire risks and how to mitigate them. Homeowners, in particular, are encouraged to contact the Gallatin County program for both education and a wildland fire risk assessment of their homes. These materials and program contact are found on the Ready Gallatin website. Use the following link:

Home Risk Assessment

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