Fire district asks for help clearing snow around hydrants


By Josh Pike | Staff Writer

The third year of the Pagosa Fire Protection District’s Adopt a Fire Hydrant program is ongoing, according to Fire Chief Randy Larson.

According to Larson, the program asks residents to shovel a 3-foot circle around a fire hydrant in their area and a path to the road to assist the district in keeping hydrants accessible in case of structure fires.

Participants can then take a picture of the hydrant and post it on the Pagosa Fire Facebook page or email it to 

Larson explained that residents are unlikely to damage a hydrant when using a snow shovel but should be careful if using a snowblower near a hydrant as it could both damage the hydrant and snowblower.

He added that most hydrants in the area include a flag attachment to increase their visibility in deep snow and that, if the flag attachment is missing, a resident can notify the district so it can replace the flag.

Larson noted that there are more than 2,000 hydrants in the area and “There’s no way in the world we can go out and clear all of them. … We’ve got a four-person crew on every day, … so it’s kind of hard to keep up with them.”

He added that the PFPD’s vehicles carry approximately 1,000 gallons of water, which lasts less than five minutes in a structure fire.

Larson commented that if the department has to spend 10 minutes digging out a hydrant, “we’re way behind the curve.”

Larson explained that hydrants covered by snow can have water get into their caps during the freeze-thaw cycle, making them difficult to open.

“That’s kind of our goal is to just get as many hydrants available as we can and where we can find them and … just for the community to take a little pride and responsibility in protecting themselves and their neighbors from a catastrophic fire,” Larson stated.

The chief indicated that the department has already received “10 or 12” submissions from the program this year.