The Ketchum Fire Station photographed around the time of its opening in 2021.

After years of interdepartmental conflict, the Wood River Valley’s fire departments are aiming to put aside their differences in the name of public safety.

Ketchum Fire Chief Bill McLaughlin on Tuesday asked the City Council to give him official approval to engage in the early stages of talks to unite Blaine County’s five separate fire-fighting entities.

“We have, to be frank, a little bit of a dysfunctional system in this county,” McLaughlin said. “Our fire departments are competing instead of cooperating—and that needs to get fixed no matter how we move forward.”

Bill McLaughlin

Ketchum Fire Chief Bill McLaughlin

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