Fort Howes Fire Station: Custer National Forest, 20 miles south of Ashland, MT–LEED Certified

leed_normalThe station includes a hangar with three helipads and barracks for the fire staff with laundry facilities. It is staffed by the BLM Fire Operations Supervisor and 3 fire engines full time during the fire season.  The BLM personnel have direct suppression responsibility for BLM and USFS Custer National Forest, Ashland Ranger District, lands in Powder River County and portions of Custer, Rosebud, and Big Horn counties. Fort Howes Fire Station is a LEED Certified building that was able to receive its accreditation in only 3 months after being submitted.  This process usually takes 6-12 months, but due to the coordination of Fisher Construction and the design team; we were able to keep a constant tab on all our credits to allow for a smooth review process and award of the certification.

Fisher Construction began construction on the $2.7 million dollar energy-efficient fire station in Spring of 2014.  This new structure replaced the original Fort Howes Ranger Station which was built around 1936. The Fire Station was designed to sit on 40,000 square feet of relatively flat ground that would allow for ample parking during fire conditions.  The first task Fisher Construction had to tackle was to excavate and remove more than 15,000 cubic yards of soils from the project site in order to create the foot print necessary for the building.  Fisher Construction implemented and maintained a full SWPPP plan that encompassed the 235,000 square foot project site.

Fisher Construction partnered with Varco Prudent Metal Buildings to provide the skeleton and shell of the new 7,500 sf building.  This metal building was unique in that it had several conditions that are not common for metal building design.  The building is split into 2 parts.  The first being the 3,000 sf Engine Bay side with a 700 sf mezzanine for the BLM cache supply storage.  The Engine Bay has (3) overhead doors, 2 separate locker room areas, welding shop with a vacuum ventilation system, and a tool storage room.  The second part of this building is the administration side which includes separate men and women’s bathrooms and shower rooms, (5) offices, a training room equipped with projector and screen, fitness room, kitchen.

Due to the rural location of the Fort Howes Fire Station, Fisher Construction installed a Kohler 85 kilowatt generator and Automatic Transfer Switch that allows the building to continue operation even during power outages.  The generator is propane fired and supplied by the (2) buried 1000 gallon propane tanks that also supply the building.