Maybell Fire Department awarded $90,000 grant from FEMA | CraigDailyPress.com
Ryan Sheridan

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Maybell Fire Department awarded $90,000 grant from FEMA

The Maybell Volunteer Fire Department will soon purchase the largest tanker truck it has ever had.

The department plans to buy a late model, 2,000-gallon combination tanker/pumper firefighting truck with the $90,000 it was awarded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. The grant was for $90,000, and the Moffat County Commissioners voted to contribute $10,000 in matching funds for the Maybell Volunteer Fire Department.

“This will be a truck that can roll pretty much anywhere,” said Bruce Johnson, Maybell Fire Department liaison officer and spokesman. “It’ll be able to handle wildfire duty, if that’s called for. The suspension and chassis will be ones that can handle off-road duty. We’re looking for a four-wheel drive truck, but we don’t know if that will happen.”

The Maybell Fire Department was one of 119 agencies nationwide that received vehicle grants. There were 19,700 applicants, and Maybell’s grant was one of two awarded in Colorado.

The fire department will be looking for a used tanker truck, preferably a dealer demo that has seen very little use, since a new tanker truck costs approximately $150,000, according to Johnson.

Last year’s extreme fire season, and the problems firefighters had controlling the blazes spurred the department to ask for funds to update its fleet. That, combined with the fact that the Maybell Volunteer Fire Department is responsible for 2.9 million acres of Moffat County, were factors that weighed heavily in its favor during this process, Johnson said.

“We’ve wanted a truck like this for years and years. Our newest truck is an 1989 Ford, and that was just a cab and chassis we built into a small tanker,” he said. “By getting this truck, we’ll be stationing a firefighting vehicle in the Greystone area we’ll now have enough trucks to do this and train some guys to run the equipment.”

The upgrade in equipment will benefit the entire county, since the Dinosaur, Maybell and Craig Fire Departments regularly work together.

“We work and train with Craig and Dinosaur, and all work together in cooperative efforts,” Johnson said.

The Maybell Volunteer Fire Department received two other grants from the U.S. Forest Service for firefighting equipment, and is applying for a second FEMA grant that will partially fund the implementation of the Moffat County Fire Plan that is presently being assembled.

“This vehicle gives us, on a countywide scale, another important option for implementing the County Fire Plan and Fuel Management Plan that is now being done,” Moffat County Natural Resources Department Director Jeff Comstock said. “This truck could be used anywhere in the county, or in the state.

“We had an edge when justifying our need for this grant because of the frequency of the fire starts in this area, the huge amount of area Maybell Fire Department covers and because Maybell has one of the largest burdens 2.9 million acres of our county with the least amount of financial support.”

The Maybell Volunteer Fire Department has an annual budget of $17,500 that it receives from Moffat County, and that money covers insurance, equipment, utility bills and operational expenses.