This past June, the High Park Fire in Colorado impacted residents of the Rist Canyon VFD, Glacier View FPD, Poudre Canyon FPD and Poudre Fire Authority. The fire destroyed 259 homes over 87,200 acres and is the most destructive fire in the history of Larimer County. Although supported by surrounding fire agencies, state and federal assistance when called upon, Rist Canyon has an all volunteer fire department including the fire chief, firefighters, administration (Board of Directors) and others. Rist Canyon VFD is not a fire protection district, does not receive tax funds and does not charge for any emergency responses.
So it brings to question, where does the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department receive its funding for their resources and equipment. This close-knit community comes together and makes individual donations and holds a special fund raising event, the RCVFD Mountain Festival and Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction (made possible by the generosity of many artists), the Sunday before Labor Day weekend. The festival becomes a gathering place for all ages with lots of activities including the auction, where this year they raised $110,000 up from $40,000 last year. Although the
auction is the highlight of the festival, the residents are very creative as well to raise additional funds. One couple whose husband is a firefighter, were among those that found themselves sifting through the ruins of their home. All they found were remnants of the husband’s woodcarvings and stubble of a rhubarb plant. The couple nurtured that plant until there was enough stalk to make a pie. That pie was auctioned off and raised $1,000 at the festival. Two young children donated over $250 in tip money from working a food stand and other couple raised $5,000 by having a band play in their backyard. The list goes on in the creative ways this community supports its all volunteer fire department and will go a long way to support the firefighters and help to rebuild one of their fire stations lost during the High Park Fire.