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The History of Clifton Fire


The Clifton Fire Protection District was formed in 1943 after legislation in Colorado was allowed to form “Title 32 Special District” that would be become a governmental agency.

The The Fire Protection District boundaries are from 30 Road East to 35 Road, the Colorado River North to I-70. It encompasses approximately 15 square miles. The only Bond election the District ever had was in 1979 for a new fire station at its present location and a new ladder truck. That election passed with a 90% voter approval. The District also had two “Tabor” questions for capital improvements and it also passed by a majority of the voters.

The District is governed by a Board of Directors that are elected from the property owners that reside in the Fire District. They meet once a month.

When the District was formed all the personnel was from local farmers ranchers and community members on a volunteer basis. Between July 1943 and December of 1947 the Department responded to 42 calls. Today the Department has fifteen full time and Twenty-Five Volunteers. In 2012 there were 563 fire calls and 2201EMS calls for a total of 2764. This year the department is projecting a total of over 3,500 calls for service.

When the District was formed, an old school bus was donated by the local school district which became the Districts first fire truck after it was converted by the members of the volunteer fire fighters. The second fire truck was a new factory built 1946 Howe on a Chevrolet chassis. This was the pride and joy of the Department for quite a few years to follow. Today the Department has two front line 1500 GPM pumpers, 1991 Pierce & 2001 Pierce,  2008 Pierce 75 foot ladder truck, one 1997 E-1 medium rescue/air/light truck, one 2019 Ford F-450 brush truck, two 2012 Chevrolet ALS Ambulances, one 2000 Ford ALS Ambulance and one 14’ rescue boat with jet outboard motor. All are maintained by the Department members.

One item that the Department is very proud of is the insurance rating for the District’s residential & commercial properties. The insurance rating commonly referred as an “ISO” rating for property is rated for each fire department thru out the State and the nation. The higher the rating, the more expensive for the property owner, as the rating gets lower the insurance cost goes down. It is rated thru a national insurance board and is reviewed usually annually. The criteria are very strict as the rating goes down. The Clifton Fire Board working with the Clifton Water District and the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center are able to achieve such standards to get the rating down as to help the property owners within the Fire District for lower premium cost associated with there properties. An Example is from 1943 to 1985 the District had a rating of a “9”, typical for a rural setting. From 1985 to 1995 the rating went to a “5” then with a lot of efford and cooperation between these agencies , the rating went to a class “4” rating in 1995 to the present. This accomplishment for a Fire District within Colorado is not common.

The first Fire Chief was Louie Strain when the District was formed. Since then, the District has had five Fire Chiefs. Charles A. Strain, Donald Barrick, Wayne Pond and with our first paid Fire Chief, Kent Holsan who served in this position until his retirement in January of 2016.  The organization is now led by Fire Chief Charles K. Balke.