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Big Sky Fire excited for new training facility after 22 years in the making

The state-of-the-art facility, set to open in May, is expected to be a game-changer for training at Big Sky Fire.
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Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 14:22:55-05

BIG SKY — In the making for 22 years, Big Sky Fire’s new training facility is almost complete, changing the game for training in the department.

"This is a dream come true for me. I've been wanting this facility since I started 22 years ago," says Big Sky Fire Deputy Chief Sether Barker.

The new training facility is a joint partnership between the Big Sky Resort Tax District and the Big Sky Fire Department. It cost around $850,000 to construct. Barker, says this new facility provides state-of-the-art training right at their fingertips.

"This is a one-stop shop," he says, "so we do everything from high and low angle rescue, to live fire training, to search and rescue, to forcible entry, and everything in between."

For the past seven years, Big Sky Fire has been going to Belgrade to train their academy. Captain Shane Farmer says they’ll no longer have to travel or use temporary spaces to train.

"To have that in our own district and not have to try to find buildings under construction or do it in an open parking lot and have to pretend that we're working with the structure, it's going to make our training more realistic and thus make us more efficient," says Farmer.

The training in this new facility will be constant.

"We train every day. We do it right now in different parts of our community, which will still happen outside of this. But this training facility will allow us to train more efficiently," says Farmer.

For both Farmer and Barker, the new facility was worth the wait.

"It's very surreal that we're finally here," says Farmer.

"It's an awesome training facility. We were looking forward to this project being complete," says Barker.

The training facility is set to open in May.