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LRCA, BEC fund ATV for fires, rescues


Medina Lake Volunteer Fire Department will be able to buy and equip an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) thanks to a grant awarded through the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Community Development Partnership Program.
LCRA and Bandera Electric Cooperative Inc. provided the $16,000 grant to buy and outfit a Polaris Ranger® 6x6 utility vehicle for the rugged terrain in the fire department's response area. The drought has reduced Medina Lake to about 3 percent of its capacity and, as a result, the exposed soil has increased the amount of land in the department's response area by 22 percent. The dry lakebed has created popular places for off-road recreation and campfires in locations that are virtually inaccessible with typical firefighter brush trucks or ambulances.
"With the drought taking such a heavy toll on Medina Lake, many people have traded boating for dirt-bike riding and four-wheel driving in the lakebed," said Ben Hicks, Medina Lake Volunteer Fire Department fire chief. "We have seen an increase in accident and brush fire calls in the rocky lake bottom and in areas with silt that are too soft for our brush trucks to drive through. This ATV will allow us to bring a miniature mobile fire and emergency medical vehicle to sites we previously had to reach on foot."
The grant also will help equip the vehicle bed with a medical board and basket for transporting patients, as well as install a water tank, pump and hose for brush fire calls.