The Duke Rural Fire Department covers a very broad, rural area of southern Phelps and Pulaski counties at approximately 86 square miles. It is difficult for the small department to maintain and preserve its fire fighting vehicles and equipment because so much of it must sit outside given the small size of the current structure. The new building will give the department a nice place to keep its vehicles under cover and better care for them, increasing response times and adding life to the vehicles currently owned. Firefighters have been delayed responding to emergencies due to weather conditions that inhibit immediate operation of vehicles. The department struggles keeping its older fleet in good condition because most of it is exposed to the elements. The pumper cannot be filled in the winter due to freeze threat and must be filled prior to arriving on scene at a fire. This adds significantly to response times. The new station will allow the department to protect its fleet of vehicles and access them much more efficiently. This will improve overall response times saving lives and property. Adequate fire suppression is critical for rural community's residents and businesses that want to live and work in rural areas. The Duke Fire service area is heavily reliant on the natural environment, from tourism to logging. For people and businesses to survive in this environment, certain basic services such as access to infrastructure (water, electric, etc.) and services (fire and law enforcement) are just as important as in incorporated areas.