Residents of Silverthorne want a fire station. What would it take to get one? | SummitDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Residents of Silverthorne want a fire station. What would it take to get one?

A firefighter with Summit Fire & EMS extinguishes a wildfire off Elk Run Road north of Silverthorne on May 19, 2020. Over the past several weeks, increased concern from residents have been voiced about Summit Fire & EMS response times in Silverthorne — especially with congestion happening at Exit 205 on Interstate 70.
Jason Connolly/Summit Daily News archive

Every bench and chair was full of Silverthorne community members on Wednesday night, Oct. 12, to hear Summit Fire & EMS Fire Chief Travis Davis give a presentation about the potential fire station in town. Currently, the Dillon station serves Silverthorne, as well as Summit County communities north of town.

Over the past several weeks, increased concern from residents have been voiced about response times in Silverthorne — especially with congestion happening at Exit 205 on Interstate 70.

This rendering shows the first phase of what a fire station could look like in Silverthorne.
Summit Fire & EMS/Courtesy image

Part of the presentation focused on current Insurance Services Office ratings. The ratings contribute to the cost of fire insurance. As a department, Summit Fire & EMS received a classification of “2” or “2X” for most residential and commercial areas in town. Class 2 areas are municipalities and county subdivisions that are within 5 road miles from a fire station and are within 1,000 feet of an approved fire hydrant or alternate water source. Class 2 communities include Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Wildernest, Dillon Valley, Summit Cove, Keystone Ranch, Mesa Cortina, Summerwood, Ruby Ranch and Willowbrook. 



Class 2X areas are still within 5 miles of a fire station, but are farther than 1,000 feet away from a hydrant. Portions of Ptarmigan and Bill’s Ranch received Class 2X ratings. If a property is farther than 5 road miles away but has an approved fire hydrant within 1,000 feet, they are classified as Class 10W. In Summit County, this includes Montezuma, parts of Eagles Nest, Three Peaks, Summit Sky Ranch, Acorn Creek and Pebble Creek subdivisions.

Beyond Silverthorne, community members in Heeney also have a low rating because they are also served by the Dillon station. This means that their insurance rates will go up because of the heightened risk and — in some cases — could be canceled altogether.



One solution to give north Summit County community members a better insurance rating would be to have a fire truck stored in Silverthorne. However, Davis said that the station would not be fully staffed like the other four stations in the county. 

This rendering shows the second phase of what a fire station could look like in Silverthorne. The second phase would include more amenities for full-time staff members.
Summit Fire & EMS/Courtesy image

Another option would be to have a kind of station called a surge station. While more than a truck in a garage, it still would not have full-time staff and would instead pull either a medic unit or engine from whatever jurisdiction is facing the least amount of calls. This would be in times where congestion can be predicted — like busy holidays — so Silverthorne would have coverage during those times when traffic is at a standstill at Exit 205.

Davis said over time, expectations have evolved for what the town wants, whether it’s a firetruck in Silverthorne or a fully staffed station.

“When we started this process, we were looking at a three-to-five year project timeline, and the intent of that was twofold: one, we needed to organically acquire the funds in normal budgeting processes and two, we knew we would be dealing with supply chain issues. When we started this process at the beginning of the year, we were taking a two-phase approach to build what we’re calling the surge station,” Davis said.

He presented two phases of what a station in Silverthorne would look like. Phase I would have three bays. Phase II would be an expanded station, with more amenities for staff such as a kitchen, fitness area and office space.

“We only have a finite amount of resources available to us to make this happen,” Davis said. “We’re looking now at a fully staffed station, that adds additional costs.”

During the meeting, some community members expressed concerns about how the town is spending its money — specifically on large capital projects that do not include funding for the fire station. However, in a letter sent to the Summit Fire & EMS board of directors, Silverthorne Town Council members said that the town has already put in millions of dollars of investments to build one, including land and maintenance on the town’s fire hydrants. 

“Summit Fire has the sole right and responsibility to provide fire and EMS services within its boundaries. Those boundaries include all of the town of Silverthorne,” the letter reads. “As well, Summit Fire has the authority to impose voter approved taxes on property within its boundaries, and in November 2021 voters approved and increased the mill levy by four mills resulting in a 45% increase in annual revenues (over $4 million) to Summit Fire. Summit Fire’s budgeted annual property tax revenues for 2022 are $16,758,222. (Thirty percent) of Summit Fire’s annual revenues are paid by the taxpayers of Silverthorne and special districts north of I-70.”


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.