GALLATIN COUNTY — If you have an emergency, whether it’s fire-related or not, a majority of the time your local fire department is the first one on the scene.
“We could have had acres burned. I don’t like to think about what could have happened,” explained Gallatin County resident Penelope Pierce.
What could have happened if the Central Valley Fire District didn’t show up quickly when a fire broke out at Pierce’s home a couple of weeks ago.
“We had done some burn piles. We have our permits. We were all legal, and we thought they were dead out. We had been tending them for eight days, making sure that there was dirt on them,” Pierce said.
The family went out of town and when they came back—
“A couple of them had come back to life with the high winds. It was a windy Sunday. I mean, really windy, very high winds, and we had a fire,” she said.
Central Valley firefighters quickly put out the fire—and now, they’re asking for your help on May 4.
“Central Valley Fire District is asking our voters to renew a mill levy that expires this year. It is 10 mills and it’s used for career firefighters,” explained Central Valley Fire Chief Ron Lindroth.
The levy wouldn’t increase your taxes because it’s not a new levy. But what it does increase is the station’s ability to arrive at emergencies faster.
“We’re targeting being able to arrive at your emergency within 7 minutes, and that requires career staffing to be able to do that,” Chief Lindroth said.
Staffing that includes both volunteer and career firefighters.
“Central Valley Fire District is the largest fire district in the county, and we’re running over 2,000 calls a year. We do not only structure fires, we do ambulance transport. We do wildland firefighting. We do rescue work. Remember last fall we had the Bridger Canyon fire. That was an all-hands-on-deck. All fire departments in the county responded to that,” he explained.
And now the department needs residents to respond to the levy.
“So many of these things we take for granted until they’re not there, and then we think oh my God,” Pierce said.
May 4 is right around the corner, so if you haven’t received your ballot yet or if there are any issues, you need to contact your local elections office immediately.