Out of the devastation of the 1910 Fires that torched through Kootenai Country Montana came tremendous strides in fire fighting training. Tower systems were put in place and the incident command system got its beginnings. By combining forest and community fire fighting forces, they increased efficiency and put systems in place to prevent that kind of devastation from ever happening again. Many communities, realizing the disadvantages of disorganized fire fighting efforts in the disastrous burns of 1910 rallied together. In
1911, The Libby Volunteer Fire Department was created, and 2011 was a great 100th Year Anniversary!
In 1964, then Chief Ernie Wood obtained some grant funding for a memorial project. There was an area of city land which had been used as a picnic site for many years. The fire department provided tables with lumber donated by local loggers, and members of the community decided to fix up the park and add some new facilities. In 1982, Chief Tom Wood obtained the help of community members, local organizations and an army of volunteers. They obtained another grant, and together with Kutz Construction began work with locally donated lumber and labor to build Fireman’s Park.
This park is conveniently located at the intersection of Highway 2 and Mahoney Road just behind, or just southeast of the Venture Inn, "Libby’s Boutique Inn". In fact, many folks that stay at the Venture find it very convenient, as the park is just across a quiet side street. The park has a covered picnic and barbecue area, a small water park for the kids and some replica fire engine rides and other “jungle gym” features. This lovely park also contains a spacious area to walk your pets when they join you here for a little rest and relaxation. As you drive in from Highway 2, you slip into a small grove of 32-inch ponderosa pine, 20-inch Doug-fir and some 17-inch western larch. There is a small campground there, and each site has a picnic table. There is a 5-day camping limit, a camp host on site, and fire danger warnings are posted.
The base of the flat continues far back, revealing tombstones slab grey against the green, well kept grass of (The Libby City Cemetery). If you lift your eyes, you will see Cabinet Mountain Views of Treasure, Scenery and Dome Mountains. A fitting scene to lay at rest. The Memorial to the Libby Volunteer Fire Department shares this view, both memorials carved in stone in memory of those lost and gone.
The firemen are grateful for all the support of the community over the years. They are always at the ready, awaiting the call for them to spring into action. It is worth mentioning that the Libby Volunteer Fire Department has a Class 3 ISO Rating. This is outstanding considering our population base. A four is tough to get, a three is practically unheard of. The department credits its success to good leadership, teamwork and the total support of the community that enables our firefighters to obtain the best equipment available. The men and women of our volunteer fire department really appreciate having state of the art equipment to keep them and their community protected.
Chief Tom Wood and the, approximately, 28-member department are grateful for any help and remind us that there are many ways to help the team. Please visit www.libbyvolunteerfiredepartment.com or call the station at (406) 293-9217 to see how you might be able to help our dependable folks out! The laughter of kids playing in Fireman’s Park rings across the grounds, delighting everyone there. The Chamber of Commerce Building sits on the city parcel, maintained by city crews and is manicured to perfection. The Firemen keep the Memorial clean and tight. The area folks set up a colorful and resourceful farmer's market on Thursday nights May to September, where everything from produce to canned goods to hand carved furniture and knife sharpening takes place. It’s all about the community, sharing and protecting. Remembering and appreciating. Take time to visit our beautiful Fireman’s Park, and feel the beauty and friendship of Kootenai Country Montana.