Five rural Douglas County fire protection districts that respond to incidents in the Pike National Forest area received needed funds to help them manage wildland fires, medical emergencies and structure fires.
The five fire districts were awarded a total of $100,000, funds that come to Douglas County annually from the federal government as Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). Like 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.
The five fire districts report they will use the money over the course of the year to update wildland fire equipment, provide training, purchase new rescue equipment and improve their communication mechanisms.
“Our investment in and partnership with our rural fire districts, who are often the first responders on an incident in the Pike National Forest, are vital components of our hard, heavy, fast approach to wildfire response,” said Douglas County Commissioner and Board Chair Roger Partridge.
The PILT funds, awarded by the Board of Douglas County Commissioners at their Feb. 11 Business Meeting, were distributed to the five agencies based on the number of calls they made during the year, at an average of $763 per call. Awards were as follows:
- Jackson 105 Fire Protection District: $16,795.40 (22 calls)
- Larkspur Fire Protection District: $6,876.40 (9 calls)
- Mountain Communities Volunteer Fire Protection District: $29,003.40 (38 calls)
- North Fork Fire Protection District: $21,373.40 (28 calls)
- West Douglas Fire Protection District: $25,951.40 (34 calls)
Beginning in 2002, Douglas County has designated a portion of its PILT money to provide supplemental funding for the five rural fire districts.
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