AirLink is an emergency helicopter based out of Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, and our primary emergency transport here in Rist Canyon. Recently they did a promotional video including a training exercise involving a pedestrian struck by a car up here in the canyon. Several of our firefighters and EMTs are featured in the video.
In 1975 a group of dedicated residents in Rist Canyon joined forces to create Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department. From the organizing documents:
“… Due to the recent Beetle Infestation …”
Thirty Nine Years and 3 major disasters later ….we thank them for their vision and foresight – a vision that has lasted, evolved and grown with our community. What they started with hard work, donated equipment and their own personal signatures guaranteeing a loan to build RCVFD Station 1 has grown today into a well funded, donation-based (not tax funded), dynamic and effective fire department that provides Rescue, Fire (structural and wildland) and Emergency Medical Services.
Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department is staffed by approximately 35 volunteer emergency responders and strongly supported by the community. RCVFD’s response area has grown from 38 square miles in 1975 to approximately 110 square miles today, not including automatic mutual aid to approximately 50 additional square miles.
Today RCVFD operates 11 emergency vehicles out of 3 stations (well – 2, until RCVFD Station 4 is rebuilt after burning in High Park).
RCVFD and our community has had a rough go of it in the past 3 years.
- In 2011 we suffered the Crystal Fire. This fire, which was man caused, started on Crystal Mountain south west of the Buckhorn. Initially contained to about 20 acres, the Crystal fire was fanned by a sudden nighttime windstorm with winds reaching 70mph or more. The fire grew to over 3000 acres in a matter of minutes and destroyed several homes. Because the wind struck very late at night, it was a critical and life threatening situation. The Crystal fire was the first major fire in the RCVFD area in 30 plus years.
- On June 9, 2012, a lightning-sparked fire in the Buckhorn became the wind driven inferno known as the High Park fire. High Park burned over 89,000 acres and destroyed some 254 homes and countless other buildings and took 1 life. The area was evacuated for nearly 21 days. Two years later, RCVFD and our community is recovering – showing a determination and effort that is truly amazing.
- September 2013 floods. In 2013 the front range of Colorado had an extended upslope storm that dumped 14.6 inches of rain at RCVFD station 1. This storm caused a 500-1000 year flood event that destroyed roads and properties up and down the Colorado front range. Because of High Park, and the expected flooding that comes after a wildland fire, RCVFD and our residents weathered the flood better than most. We had been preparing for flooding from the High Park burn for a year. Still, of the 3 roads in the RCVFD area, only Rist Canyon Road survived and it was damaged. Since then, Rist Canyon, Stove Prairie and the upper Buckhorn roads have been repaired (though the upper Buckhorn is a temporary repair). The lower Buckhorn remains closed. That road will be rebuilt during 2014.
Station 4, which burned in the High Park Fire in 2012, had its grand opening in Whale Rock on October 13, 2015. Thanks to all those who donated time, effort, and materials to make rebuilding Station 4 a reality. Special thanks go to FCI Constructors and RMMI.
Station 4 houses engines 641 and 642, and is designed to meet ISO 9 certification requirements. That means that residents in the Whale Rock area may be able to get significant breaks on their home insurance. We are currently working on formally receiving that ISO 9 certification. Once it's complete, talk to your insurance agent!
For more information on our fire stations and the equipment at each one, have a look at Homeowner Information.
The Buckhorn Canyon Road (AKA County Road 27) sustained a great deal of damage from the floods in September of 2013. Repairs to this road are going to begin this month and Larimer County wants residents to be informed of the project's details and aware of what they can expect to see happen in the area.
This project was awarded to the American Civil Constructors for $15,455,279. They are now mobilizing in the Buckhorn area and will begin the work this week. A temporary detour above and to the north of the "narrows" was to be constructed prior to the project but has been scrapped because of failed right-of-way negotiations.
Rist Canyon VFD is a donation based volunteer fire department. We are not a Fire Protection District and receive no tax funds.
RCVFD is staffed purely by Volunteers - whether fire fighters or admin (BOD) and others, nobody gets paid and we always need new people.
RCVFD has two primary funding mechanisms:
The Chipping Site is CLOSED - we are full.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some recent slash drops have included trash. This is not acceptable and can endanger the chipping program.
Since 2011 RCVFD residents have dealt with 2 major wildland fires. The following books are by residents of the RCVFD response area.