News & Announcements
The Gallatin County Election Office notified the Board of Trustees on April 14, 2008 that the two positions on the board that were opening due to the end of the terms of Ken Vidar and Tom Langel have been filled by Ken and Tom by acclamation, as no one else filed for candidacy. Their new terms run from May 2008 to May 2011.
The Gallatin River Ranch Search/Rescue team is pleased to welcome Ross Johnson, who arrived at the Ranch on February 15, as chief of the department. Chief Johnson hails from Maryville, MO, and comes to us with a distinguished record of training and accomplishment. His twenty-six years of experience has resulted in certification and training in many relevant areas of fire and medical response, and he has a sterling track record of instructorship, strategic planning, and team leadership and management. The board of trustees and the department all look forward to a long and mutually satisfying relationship with our new chief. Welcome, Chief Johnson! For a synopsis of Chief Johnson's credentials, click here.
An Election of two (2) trustees for the Gallatin River Ranch Rural Fire District Board of Trustees will be held on May 6, 2008. Petitions for nomination for the election are available at the Gallatin County Election Department, Gallatin County Courthouse, 311 W. Main St., Room 103, Bozeman, MT. They must be filed with the County Election Department no later than 5:00pm on February 21, 2008.
The current Board suggests that interested candidates provide a short biography-- showing relevant experience and reasons for interest--to allow the Ranch community the opportunity to make an educated decision. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org; they will be posted at the fire district Web site (http://www.grrrfd.org) for examination by the voters.
Please note that if there are more than two candidates for the available slots, the election will be held under county auspices. If only two candidates file, they will be appointed by acclamation. If only one candidate files, that person will be appointed by acclamation, and the county then has the right to fill the remaining slot with a person of their choosing, who may not necessarily be a member of our community. If no one files, then the county has the right to fill both slots with their appointees.
A recent item -- published at the wired.com site -- provides some excellent information you should review. Entitled "Protect Your House and Family in Case of a Wildfire", this material is well worth your taking the time to read. We hope that you will see fit to implement as many of the suggestions made therein as practicable.
To: All GRR Property Owners
Fr: Nels D. Sanddal, Interim Chief, GRR Rural Fire and Rescue
Re: Response to Fire Scenes
August 23, 2007
The August 21 fire on Nixon Gulch underscores the need to reiterate expected behavior of everyone at the scene of a fire. We were very fortunate during the recent fire in three respects:
While each of you who responded and assisted with the fire have reason to feel good about your contributions to the fire’s quick containment, an objective assessment provides a more somber view of the harm that each of you subjected yourselves to or inadvertently caused others.
What You Can Do to Help
In any emergency situation your first obligation is to call 9-1-1, describe the location (include not only road location but a statement that it is on the Gallatin River Ranch so that an appropriate page is made) and the type of incident, i.e., wildland fire, house on fire, etc.
As was noted in Mr. Hobish’s e-mail of July 25, 2007, the best thing to do is to return to your home, prepare your existing water resources to wet down the property immediately surrounding your home, and be available to receive any evacuation orders.
In summary, NO HOME OR PROPERTY, is worth the loss of life of yourself, a family member or a neighbor. If you want to help, there are many things you can do.
What you MUST Do to Help:
If you happen upon a Ranch fire, dial 9-1-1, report its location as explicitly as you can, particularly stating that it is on the Gallatin River Ranch. Then stay out of harm’s way.
Do not begin working the fire unless you receive a specific assignment from the I.C. If you don’t know who the I.C. is or where to find that person, then you have no business attempting to “help”. Fire scenes must be dealt with in an orderly manner for both effectiveness and safety. By law, the I.C. is the person who “runs” the scene, and is in complete command of all activities. Anyone who helps or is even just on the scene is under their command, and subject to their orders. This is an imperative, such that in the future, individuals who ignore or disobey the I.C. on the Ranch will be subject to arrest and removal by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department.
We are grateful to everyone who responded—volunteer fire personnel, resident, neighbor, County units, and the state’s DNRC unit, and certainly, do what you can to protect your own property until fire units arrive (if they can), but note that we must maintain strict protocols at designated fire scenes, and we need your help most of all in doing just that.
Fire was reported to Jeff Gates at approximately 3:08 p.m., 9-1-1 was immediately notified and the GRR Fire Department personnel were paged. Four members of the department responded immediately. Mr. Gates established incident command through county dispatch and, following a scene size up, immediately requested mutual aid. Following an initial denial of mutual aid, secondary requests for county assistance were made by Mr. Gates and Mr. Hobbish (who was assisting with administrative aspects of the fire). Likewise, a request for helicopter water drops was made to the Montana Department of Natural Resources.
Equipment was staged and equestrian center staff prepared to evacuate animals from the equestrian center. Civilian volunteers provided a good-faith effort to contribute to fire containment, particularly along the ridgeline and flanks of the fire.
County fire arrived, deployed assets from several departments across the County and managed their resources to assist the GRR Fire Department effort. DNRC began water drops. Both efforts continued until the primary sources of fire were extinguished. The majority of the fire had been knocked down by approximately 4:30 p.m. County fire released their assets at approximately 6:00 p.m. Remaining hotspots, which were well within the blackened perimeter, were attacked by GRR personnel and other ranch residents under the command of Mr. Gates. Mop-up continued until dark at which point efforts were suspended for safety reasons. The fire scene was monitored throughout the night for possible flare-ups. Mop-up re-commenced at daybreak on August 22 and continued throughout the morning.
The fire was deemed fully contained with limited risk of re-ignition in the early afternoon of August 22. Incident command was terminated at 1:30 p.m.
Department personnel continue to monitor the fire site visually and with thermal imaging devices. Changing wind conditions have activated five small hot spots smoldering in root structures below the surface. These have been extinguished as they are located.