Tipton Advocates for Fire Station Land Conveyance in Dolores County during Natural Resources Hearing
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) advocated for the West Fork Fire Station Conveyance Act of 2017 (H.R. 4609) during a hearing in the House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee. H.R. 4609 would permit the U.S. Forest Service to transfer 3.61 acres of land to Dolores County, Colorado, allowing the county to build and operate a fire station in the West Fork community, which is surrounded by the San Juan National Forest.
In his opening statement before the subcommittee, Tipton spoke of the West Fork community’s proximity to the San Juan National Forest and how that location puts the community at risk of suffering damage caused by dangerous wildfires. Tipton emphasized the urgent need to build a fire station in the West Fork Area, as the absence of a close fire station makes it difficult to respond to fire emergencies and makes it near impossible for homeowners in the area to obtain fire insurance.
Dolores County Commissioner Floyd Cook testified before the subcommittee in support of the bill.
“The need for a fire department in the West Fork has been obvious for a long time. Residents have had no ability to purchase fire insurance for their homes. The surrounding fire districts are providing emergency services when they’re available and they’ve become overburdened. Additionally, the more than 26 mile response distance to most calls was just simply unacceptable,” said Cook. “As stated, the conveyance of this parcel is the last piece to providing fire prevention in the West Fork area, potentially saving lives, loss of property and to help protect our forests.”
Following two failed attempts to build a fire station on county and privately owned land, Dolores County sought a land conveyance from the U.S. Forest Service to build a fire station and needed warehouse facilities. The conveyance can only be approved through an Act of Congress and the U.S. Forest Service has no objections to the land transfer.
Colorado U.S. Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet are leading the companion legislation to Tipton’s bill in the U.S. Senate.
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