The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Ranchvale to get volunteer fire department

Official: Residents pushed for it, citing concerns about wildfires.

 


RANCHVALE — The formation of a volunteer fire department in Ranchvale was put in motion last week when the Curry County Commission approved the creation of a new fire district encompassing the Ranchvale area.

“It’s definitely one that was needed,” Curry County Fire and Safety Director David Kube said about the new fire district. “As far as fire districts, that was a void within the county and I think the creation of a fire district out there and a volunteer fire department at Ranchvale will certainly benefit the citizens of the county in that area out there.”

Kube said the Ranchvale residents were largely the ones pushing for the new volunteer fire department, citing concerns about potential wildfires.

“Around the Ranchvale area a lot of the farm land has been converted to grass, which this time of year because of the drought becomes a very high risk,” Commissioner Seth Martin said.

One of those residents, Ken Davis, said he has been working towards putting a volunteer fire department in place at Ranchvale for about two-and-a-half years, when lack of proximity to emergency services was given as one of the reasons for the proposal to close the old Ranchvale school.

Since then Davis said considerable interest has developed among the Ranchvale community.

“I can tell you that we had an organizational meeting about a month ago to initially kick it off and all I did was pass out some flyers, put them on windshields there at Ranchvale Baptist Church one Sunday, stuffed them in some mailboxes and I passed out 60 flyers total,” Davis said. “We had over 60 in attendance at the meeting, so that will give you some idea.”

Kube said the Field Volunteer Fire Department donated one of its reserve trucks to help get the new volunteers in Ranchvale started and there is already an adequate water supply needed to fight fires in place at the old Ranchvale school.

Kube said the volunteers could be ready to start fighting wildfires as early as six months from now, but the training to fight structure fires is more time consuming and could potentially take up to a year from now.

Davis said the volunteers will take advantage of training opportunities offered by the Clovis Fire Department and the state to get the new department ready to fight fires.

Kube said he thinks the new fire department may feature about a dozen volunteers, but that is subject to change.

One issue the Ranchvale volunteers may run into is funding, as Kube said the state does not financially support new volunteer fire departments until they’ve been in place for at least a year.

In the meantime Kube said he has reached out to other fire departments around the county and the state for surplus items Ranchvale could use. Davis said the Ranchvale residents are workshopping several fundraising opportunities, one idea being a fundraising concert.

Officials said the benefit to the new fire department is twofold. Residents will see faster response times to fires in the area and home owners could see a decrease in their insurance premiums now that there is an emergency services presence in Ranchvale.

“Safety and saving money is pretty important,” Martin said with a laugh.

 

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