Press Release

Fire Services Report Provides County-Wide Snapshots

Jessie Faulkner/The Times-Standard
Posted: 02/11/2009 01:15:21 AM PST

North Coast volunteer firefighters spent 136,863 hours at reported incidents in 2008 and spent more than 50,000 hours in training, both snippets included in the first-ever Humboldt County Fire Services Annual Report presented to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

The document -- the work of the Humboldt County Fire Chiefs' Association -- provides details on the 42 fire departments, districts or companies located in the county. Volunteerism is at the heart of Humboldt County's firefighting efforts.

Humboldt County Fire Chiefs' Association President Brian Anderson told the board that 90 percent of the county's fire departments are made up of volunteers. Just four departments have career firefighters: Eureka, Arcata, Cal Fire and Humboldt Fire District No. 1.

The success of all fire companies and departments depends upon the support of the community, elected officials, volunteers and collaboration with other organizations, Cal Fire Humboldt-Del Norte Unit Chief Ralph Minnich told the board.

In profiling responses of each of the units, it's clear that medical calls are the most frequent ranging from the Eureka Fire Department's 1,937 calls to Whale Gulch Volunteer Fire Co.'s one call.

Each of the report's pages lists fire chiefs, profiles the department and breaks out responses based on their type as well as listing volunteer hours and noting each entity's fire equipment and boundaries.

For example, one of the county's newest departments, the Alderpoint Volunteer Fire Department, has 17 members including 10 certified responders, owns two fire engines and responded to 19 incidents in 2008 including 10 vegetation fires and two structure fires. Volunteers spent 3,445 hours in training during 2008.

Fifth District Supervisor Jill Duffy thanked the Fire Chiefs' Association for compiling the statistics and expressed her gratitude to all the volunteers who take their responsibilities very seriously.

( Humbolt County Fire Services Annual Report 2008 )