The District is located in Ouray County, southwest Colorado, between Montrose and Ridgway. Ouray County, known as the Switzerland of America, is in the heart of the majestic San Juan Mountains, with 12 peaks within the County soaring more than 13,000 feet. The County is one of the smallest of the 64 counties in Colorado, ranking 58th in land area and 51st in population.
The District itself occupies Log Hill Mesa, which is the southern tip of the Uncompahgre Plateau, a major land feature that runs from Grand Junction to Ridgway. With an average elevation of 8,000 feet, the District is approximately 9 miles wide and 11 miles long, and its 65 square miles represents about 10% of the County’s land area. However, the District is more heavily populated than the rest of the County, and contains approximately 20% of the County’s residences. Structures in the District are almost exclusively single-family residential with some ranch buildings, and include several high density pockets primarily at the south end, with the bulk of the District consisting of isolated structures interspersed with ranchland and piñon/juniper forest.
Because of the intermingling of fields and forests with residential areas, the Fire Department is equipped and trained for a dual role, that of fighting not only structural but also wildland fires. The District is governed by a Board of Directors, which administers a budget funded by property taxes, grants and donations. The Board provides policy and guidance to the Fire Department, an all-volunteer organization. With three facilities, more than a dozen apparatus, and a dedicated cadre of some 30 firefighters, the Fire Department is an integral partner in the County’s emergency services’ capabilities and resources.