Forest Service fire team moving

Thursday, June 25, 2015 7:56 PM

The Columbine Ranger District's firefighting crew is moving to a building on the north end of Vallecito Reservoir, likely for the next three to five years.

The district is making the change because it is too expensive to renew a lease on its current parking lot for fire crews, said District Ranger Matt Janowiak.

However, many of the lighting strikes within the district happen near Vallecito, and the move also will put the firefighters in a good location to respond to fires, Janowiak told the La Plata County commissioners on June 17.

"We're better off staging at Vallecito," Janowiak said.

The district had been leasing a parking lot across from its office on Pearl Street for firefighting vehicles and the firefighters' personal cars. The district decided not to renew the lease because it would have required paving, lighting and securing the lot.

Once the district moves out of the parking lot, it won't have room to house the fire crews at the district office, Janowiak said.

The district may rebuild its Bayfield facilities in the next three to five years, and that could allow the fire crew to return, he said.