Despite being stationed several miles away from the Sylvan Fire’s flames, the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority still helped battle the blaze, free of charge — at least for the first day.

“For that first operational period, none of us charged. That’s just mutually agreed upon help,” Scott Thompson, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority chief, said in an interview Friday. “At six the next morning, then, we started billing and we billed for two days until our fire truck came back.”

With 520 square miles of difficult terrain to cover and well over 2,000 calls coming in each year, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue, or RFFR, relies heavily on its mutual aid agreements with other entities and vice versa. Even smaller fires, like the one near Old Snowmass earlier this month that was caused by a lightning strike, can rack up quite a tab.

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