Frenchtown Rural Fire District (FRFD) is a combination paid/volunteer department providing services to the communities of Missoula, Evaro, Frenchtown, Huson and Alberton in western Montana.
We currently have seven full-time career staff, and up to eighteen resident firefighter/EMTs who live in the stations, work shifts, and respond to emergencies. These residents are part of FRFD’s partnership with Helena College, who are gaining emergency response experience while earning an Associate of Science degree.
Our workforce is rounded out by many dedicated, well trained community volunteers that live throughout the district, and provide both operational and administrative support when called upon.
FRFD is growing as we try to keep up with the rapid growth happening in the area. We will be adding two more career positions (one firefighter and an Assistant Chief) in 2022 and are beginning the process of investigating an additional station.
Currently, we maintain seven strategically located stations, with four routinely staffed with career and resident firefighters and the remaining three designated volunteer stations.
FRFD is an all-hazard department; response services include, but are not limited to structure fires, emergency medical (including both basic and advanced life support ambulances), motor vehicle accidents, rescues (water, rope, etc.) and hazardous materials releases. We are also very active in wildland firefighting and suppression efforts in and out of the district and provide structure protection in the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
Located in Western Montana, Frenchtown Rural Fire District consists of over 125 square miles across both Missoula and Mineral Counties. Approximately 12,000 residents live in the district, many in homes nestled in the mountains well off the beaten path and accessible only via narrow and/or steep unpaved roads.
Such closeness to wildlands significantly increases both the threat of fire and our citizens’ responsibility for prevention. Western Montana’s heavily forested landscape,
combined with summertime high temperatures and low precipitation, make for extreme fire conditions.
Further, our area contains a large variety of critical infrastructure that makes for an “all risk” district. Some of the higher risk factors include:
- 32 miles of Interstate 90 (including four bridges)—a major thoroughfare across the northern US with heavy truck traffic and a high accident rate, especially in the winter months
- Two rail lines used to transport chemical and nuclear products, as well as a daily train that transports fuel to Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State
- A major fuel storage facility and pipelines to the west coast
- Nearby Missoula International Airport with frequent arriving and departing flights over the district
- Critical telecommunication pathways (911, air traffic control, highway patrol, weather, television, radio)