If you lived in Poudre Canyon in the ’40s or early 50’s you might have seen red wooden boxes placed along the highway. These boxes contained picks and shovels to fight fire. These boxes were provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
In the late ’50s a group of residents saw the need for a fire department. A vote of the residents of the area was required to form a volunteer fire department funded by property taxes. In May of 1959 an election was held and the Poudre Canyon Fire Protection District, a Colorado Special District, was established.
There are approximately 671 parcels of land that are taxable in the district. One large problem for the department is the fact that about 80% of the land in the district is owned by various government entities and not-for-profits and therefore tax-exempt. Since our founding in 1959, several commercial entities were either torn down, purchased by the Forest Service or went out of business, therefore, decreasing the tax base. There is also very little land where new homes can be built. This means there is a limited growth potential of our tax base.
In the beginning, three fire stations were established: Station #1 at Poudre Park, 10234 Poudre Canyon Highway, Station #2 at Poudre City, 33689 Poudre Canyon Highway and Station #3 at Spenser Heights, 44610 Poudre Canyon Highway. In 1994 residents of County Road 68C petition to be added to the district. This was approved and Station #4 at 5680 County Road 68C was added. in 2019, Station #4 was renovated to include running water and a training room/community center.
In the ’80s, a medical service was implemented in conjunction with the hospital emergency room but eventually ceased due to a lack of personnel and funding.
In 1992, the State of Colorado saw the need for emergency medical service and began giving grants to rural fire districts to encourage them to add EMS to their systems. We became a part of this program and have had ambulances located at the Poudre Park and Poudre City stations since that time. Helicopter medical emergency landing zones were also established.
The Fire Board administers an annual budget that is mostly compromised of the tax revenue generated from property taxes. This budget covers vehicle insurance, building insurance, workman’s compensation insurance, repair and maintenance of buildings and vehicles, fuel for vehicles, heat and electricity for the fire stations, training programs for firefighters and emergency medical personnel, and paging system equipment. The paging system is operated by Larimer County Sheriff's dispatch.
In 2008, residents voted to increase their mill levy to build new fire stations and upgrade equipment. New fire stations at Rustic and Poudre Park were completed in early 2012, just in time for them to be used as bases to fight the High Park Fire.
Since the creation of the fire department, our goal has been to improve the quality of our responses and to continually upgrade our equipment. This has been accomplished through donations, grants and fundraising efforts. We have always been a 100% volunteer department.