Funding Crisis For Natrona County Fire

Casper Wyoming - A bombshell report this evening  the Natrona County Fire Protection District has lost over one third of its funding for 2017. Cuts which could impact response times to fires this summer.

This is a big hit to Natrona County Fire, Chief Fawcett tells says that the one third equates to about 1 million dollars. with this cut in funding it could prove problematic in the upcoming fire season.

11 and a half thousand acres burned during the 2006 Casper mountain fire. And in 2012 even more destruction. The blaze burning nearly 16 thousand acres, leaving the mountain bare.

So far this year the fire season has been mild, but with hot summer temperatures and dry conditions on the way, fire officials are preparing for a tough season ahead.

“We're entering seasonal dormancy in all of our plants of most of our plants. So they're truly going to go into dormancy where there's low fuel moisture or very low so they will be more receptive to fire as well. But that's just the season,” said Heath Serres  with the Natrona County Fire Protection District.

However this year,  Natrona County Fire is receiving nearly 36 percent loss in revenue, and Chief Bob Fawcett is concerned he may be forced to cut staff.

“What people are going to have to realize is that if we have to make these significant cuts,” Fawcett said, “It's going to affect our service.”

Fawcett explains a cut in services could result in higher risks on the east side of the county because they may have to close station 13 by the Eastgate Travel Plaza.

“If we have to shut that station down, then for us to respond from this station, station number 7 on Robinson Road, clear to that side of town will take that much more time,” said Fawcett

Luckily, Fawcett said, other fire departments are willing to help out and ensure Casper and Natrona County are safe.

“They'll help us to the best of their ability, to take up that slack, but they have to take care of their own jurisdictions first.”

There’s no word on any budget changes as of yet, but it seems as though Natrona County Fire will have to watch how they spend funds going into the summer months.