Statewide Donations Help Small Fire Department

Pictured with the donation check are (left to right) Ray Garcia, chair CEEI; Fire Capt. Darrell Adler; Fire Chief Joseph Pfander; Fire Board Chair Mike Cortes; firefighter Jim Fowler; and firefighter Tanner Martin.

Funds from a statewide fundraising effort by Colorado Country Life and its readers for areas affected by Colorado’s summer fires are going to the Upper Huerfano Fire Protection District in Gardner. Colorado’s 2018 wildfire season was one of the worst on record, affecting communities all over the state.

“This small, all-volunteer fire department is very deserving of this donation,” said Colorado Electric Educational Institute board member Ray Garcia. “They should be very proud of their professional response to the Spring Fire. They did a wonderful job protecting our community and their own lives with the limited resources they have.”

Upper Huerfano Fire Protection District Board of Directors Chair Mike Cortes said the money will likely be used for several firefighter needs, such as new breathing apparatuses used during structure and vehicle fire calls or winter firefighter coats. Currently the department only has a few coats and in only two sizes.

“We never expected anyone to help out the fire department financially after the Spring Fire and are very grateful to those who thought of our fire department,” Cortes said.

Electric co-ops and readers of Colorado Country Life, the statewide electric co-op magazine, raised $3,185 in August and September of 2018. The money was sent to the Colorado Rural Electric Association’s nonprofit, CEEI. At its October meeting, the CEEI board voted to send the money raised to the Upper Huerfano Fire Protection District in Gardner.

“We would like to thank the readers of Colorado Country Life and the Colorado Rural Electric Association for the generous donation to the Upper Huerfano Fire Department,” said UHFPD Fire Chief Joseph Pfander. “This recognition of volunteer firefighters is special to us. We could never do this work without the support of the community and many other volunteers. Thanks to all.”

The Upper Huerfano Fire Protection District is served by San Isabel Electric Association, headquartered in Pueblo West. The Spring Fire started in the summer of 2018. The fire grew to become the third largest wildfire in Colorado history in just a matter of weeks. More than 108,045 acres were burned, 218 homes were destroyed and other homes and structures were damaged in Huerfano and Costilla counties.