The Yoder Fire Protection District, in Yoder, Wyo. was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $50,000 to assist in purchasing a brush fire truck.
“It’s a wildland grass truck, we had put together this summer to help with any of the calls we get in the community, mostly for grass fires and what-not,” said Justin Burkart, Yoder Fire Protection District fire chief.
Along with the USDA grant, the district received funds from the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments and the fire district had also been budgeting for the truck.
The district services 263 square miles around Yoder with 25 volunteers. The fire crew also provides mutual aid to all surrounding districts, which may include federal fires.
The grassland fires the Yoder Fire Protection District, often fights are driven by the wind. The fire crew needs specialized equipment to keep up and fight grassland fires.
“It (truck) has safety equipment on it so we can ride on the back, that makes it more safe for firefighters. It’s got a cage with a seatbelt system in the back,” Burkart said.
He said the recent Buffalo Creek Fire is a good example of how fast the wind can move the fire, and there would be no way to keep up with it, without riding in the truck.
The brush fire truck is specifically designed for putting out grass fires, but the district added more equipment to aid in other emergency situations.
“It has CAF system, which is compressed air foam, so it can extinguish car fires, fuel fires, and stuff like that, so it’s kind of a unique truck in that aspect,” Burkart said.
The Yoder Fire Protection District on average will go out on 40 fires or emergency calls a year.
“It is very important to have updated equipment, you know, volunteers risk their lives every day and the apparatus they drive shouldn’t be part of the risk they have added on to their responsibilities,” he said. “It’s really nice to have the new truck added to the fleet.”
The Yoder Fire Protection District was part of the 44 states, and three territories to receive a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The investment of $222 million to build and improve critical community facilities was announced on Nov. 19, by Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small.