State Farm’s Good Neighbor November 2018

Most of us look forward to those long hot summer days. After bitter cold winters, we can’t wait to shed those cumbersome coats and be able to enjoy the sunshine on our shoulders. The sounds of hot dogs simmering on the grill, and children laughing while they chase each other with squirt guns becomes the soundtrack of our days. As hot days drag on filled with sunshine and warm breezes there are some in our community who know all too well that this time of year can be dangerous and devastating. Instead of a fun campfire to roast marshmallows with and sing songs around, they see an ignition switch surrounded by dry fuel in the form of grasses and trees. What starts as an innocent good time can quickly turn into hundreds of thousands of acres scorched, habitat lost for area wildlife, ranches, livelihoods, and homes lost.  

The men and women of the Lamoille Volunteer Fire Department do this bravely. They make sure that they are ready to serve whether it be a structure fire or wild land fire. They will take the time away from their homes and families to save someone else’s. The Department has 10 volunteers, with 15 of them being very active.  Six of these members are not only certified to fight wild land fires but they are also certified to fight structure fires with two members who have their EMT medical certificates.  

This year we have all seen the devastation that a very hard fire season can cause. Many of us were faced with wild land fires that were a little too close to our homes, or ranchland for comfort. Lamoille VFD was there for the Gance, Owl Creek, and several other fires this summer including the most recent Range 2 fire. The Range 2 fire affected our area most recently, devastating Lamoille Canyon Recreation areas.  Through the combined efforts with Nevada Division Forestry, Elko County Fire and BLM, firefighters were able to keep this fire from affecting homes and land in the Lamoille Valley. Through their air attacks, dozers, and helitacks they were able to slow and stop fire progression. The area they normally cover is anything south of I-80 from Secret Pass to 10 mile/ Lucky Nugget, to Lamoille Summit.  

In addition to being on the front lines of a firefight the members of the Lamoille VFD spend a considerable amount of time trying to make sure that their services are not needed. According the Jess Sustacha, the Fire Chief for Lamoille VFD, “The last thing you want to do is lose someone’s home.” That is why he and fellow members take the time to educate the public about the importance of preventative measures. They went door to door explaining the importance of having enough defensible space. A month later they drove around and rechecked the homes and a large majority of home owners in the area have cleared at least thirty feet of defensible space around their homes and out buildings.

The Lamoille VFD fights all of their fires with the use of only a few vehicles. Their frontline structure truck is a 1974 International, it is a structure and wild land engine. They have a 1968 military 6×6 water tinder which carries 2,500 gallons of water along with the two type six engines which can fight wild land fires, and a command truck. One type six that is equipped with full extrication gear and the command truck were donated to the department by Verdi Volunteer Fire Department. They are going through some growing pains at the moment. Their current building can only hold two of their fire trucks and they rely on members with safe storage places for the others. They simply do not have room to house the important equipment they need at the moment. This will hopefully be changing soon. They have been given a gift of some acreage to build a new station. This is currently going through the legal process of being signed over and permitted, but after that happens they will be able to start fundraising to build their new building. This is where we all need to step in! It will be our turn at that point to give back and make sure that these great men and women can continue to do their jobs.  

Maybe you are interested in the prospect of joining the Lamoille VFD? Volunteer fire fighters are greatly needed throughout our area right now. If you have it in your heart to serve your community in this way you need to fill out an application through Elko County. You then can select the department that you would like to serve on.  Maybe you are not physically capable of fighting a fire or helping with a medical call. That is ok! You can become an associate member and help the department with fundraising and events. We each have our own part to play when it comes to making sure that our people and property is safe.

We know that it has been a very long and terrible fire season.
We appreciate all of the men and women in all of our local fire departments. Please know that the time you spend away from your homes and families is greatly appreciated. We all know that without you we may have a lot more losses than we currently do. From the bottom of our hearts we send our thanks.

If you have someone you would like to nominate as a Good Neighbor please call Kayla at 775.738.3423 or email