Douglas County’s five rural fire protection districts were recognized by the Board of Douglas County Commissioners with vital firefighting funds to help them manage wildland fires, medical emergencies, rescue operations, and structure fires specifically in the Pike National Forest area.
The fire districts were awarded $100,000 at the Tuesday, Feb. 22 Board of Douglas County Commissioners Business meeting. The funds are received by the County annually from the federal government as Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). Similar to many other local governments in the U.S. that have non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries, Douglas County receives PILT funds to help offset losses in local property taxes spent on the utilization of County services on non-taxable federal lands.
Forty-eight percent of Douglas County is open space and just over 140,000 acres of that open space is within the Pike National Forest. PILT funds help rural fire districts protect those lands as they respond to emergency calls in the national forest.
The five fire districts report they will use the money in 2022 to update wildland fire fighting and personal protection equipment.
The PILT funds were distributed to the five agencies based on the number of calls they made during the year, at an average of $892 per call. Awards were as follows:
- Jackson 105 Fire Protection District: $6,263.20 (7 calls)
- Larkspur Fire Protection District: $3,587.20 (4 calls)
- Mountain Communities Volunteer Fire Protection District: $41,943.20 (47 calls)
- North Fork Fire Protection District: $27,671.20 (31 calls)
- West Douglas Fire Protection District: $20,535.20 (23 calls)
Beginning in 2005, Douglas County has designated a portion of its PILT money each year to provide supplemental funding for the five rural fire districts.
Wildfire mitigation and risk reduction require everyone in our community to participate. Learn more about what you can do to prepare for wildfire and reduce your risk and be sure to sign up for CodeRED notifications to ensure you and your family are notified immediately in case of a life-threatening emergency in your community.