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Spearfish Fire Department’s wildland fire program nets $140K in 2018

December 28, 2018

SPEARFISH — Firefighters from the Spearfish Fire Department spent 240 days on 20 separate wildland fire assignments in 2018, netting $140,051.84 after expenses.

The city council has granted approval since 2017 for the department to hire two seasonal wildland firefighters and one engine boss to staff a Type 3 or 6 Engine, to support the efforts of reducing the impacts of wildfire on communities around the U.S. and also create revenue, since crew and equipment costs are reimbursed by the agency with jurisdiction on the fire. Department volunteers, in additional to the seasonal staff, may serve on the wildland assignments if they qualify for the certifications and are available.

Chris Harwood, administrative assistant for the Spearfish Fire Department, explained that eight firefighters served on the 20 separate assignments to which they were sent in South Dakota, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wyoming in 2018. These assignments took place during the months of April, June, July, August, September, October, and November.

Michelle DeNeui, assistant city finance officer, explained that the wildland fire program brought in $509,911.08, with total expenses of $369,859.24, which includes salaries, fuel, travel, vehicle depreciation, etc., for a net gain of $140,051.84. That total goes into the Wildland Fund, minus $53,588.22, the equipment depreciation calculated using the Federal Emergency Management Agency Equipment Schedule Rates, that the city council approved transferring to the Fire Capital Fund for future replacement of equipment.

“The Wildland Fund was established to track the revenues and expenses related to (the) wildland fire program, but upon council approval excess funds can be transferred or used for other fire department purposes,” DeNeui said.

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