WOLF CREEK, Ore. — Keeping the Wolf Creek Rural Fire Protection District operational has been an ongoing issue.
While response times have not drastically changed, other agencies are being stretched thin by having to step up.
The Wolf Creek Rural Fire Protection District is currently on hiatus with no volunteers to operate the station. Its facility also has multiple issues. The President of the Board says this is the worst he’s ever seen the situation.
Wolf Creek is relying on surrounding agencies Rural Metro and Glendale for fire protection due to a lack of staffing at their volunteer fire department.
“Folks move away, they don’t want to do the required training. It’s much more of a commitment than some people are willing to do. So they have been struggling to keep volunteers as it is,” Rural Metro Division Chief, Austin Prince said.
The solution is not as simple as just finding people willing to do the work.
“We’ve got six volunteers right now, but what people don’t understand is that there’s so much training involved to get a volunteer up to speed, and if they can only handle two hours per week, it takes about a year to get somebody trained,” Wolf Creek Rural Fire Protection District Board President, Dave Clark said.
According to Clark, not only are volunteer numbers low, but their facility has had to shut down due to an oil spill in the winter, releasing contaminants.
“Right now, we’re basically on hiatus because our building is uninhabitable. Until we get that resolved, we can’t really be training or anything,” Clark said.
With the fire station out of commission, Rural Metro and the volunteer station in Glendale have stepped up to provide fire protection.
Late last month, both agencies stopped a fire just before it reached the town’s post office.
Both agencies are being stretched thin but are still able to respond about as fast as the Wolf Creek volunteers if they were operating.
“Between Glendale and Rural Metro, we’re doing everything we can to help. How long we can keep this up will be a challenge,” Prince said.
Glendale’s Chief, Roy Milburn, said helping out puts a strain on their already small department of only ten volunteers.
In Wolf Creek, where the residents are still paying tax dollars for fire protection, there is no timeline for any change.
“People pay a lot of money for fire protection. Us not being able to have a fire department is upsetting. Until we can find something better we’re kind of stuck in the situation we’re in right now,” Clark said.
According to Clark, there is a board meeting this week.
They are hopeful to be able to send a newsletter out to the community when they have more information on the status of the department.
However, there is no timeline for any significant changes.