County Fire History

In 1948, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors entered into a cooperative agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF prior to 2007, now known as CAL FIRE) to provide structural fire protection in the rural areas of Santa Cruz County. The County agreed to provide funding for 5.5 months of winter coverage at CDF facilities. This agreement, known as the “Amador plan”, established the Santa Cruz County Fire Department (County Fire). As a result, a unified CDF/County Fire Administration was formed to address wildland and structural fire protection in a coordinated manner.

Today, the County of Santa Cruz continues to contract with CAL FIRE for administration, support services, and line personnel to provide service in the un-incorporated areas of the county, which are not protected by other local government fire agencies. County Fire is a full-service fire agency that provides fire protection, emergency medical service (Basic Life Support-Advanced Scope), fire prevention services, fire marshal, and public education. This arrangement delivers effective services though the best use of available resources.

County Fire operates under the direction of the Fire Chief, who happens to also be the CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit Chief. The chief is accountable to the Board of Supervisors through the County Administrative Office. The Deputy Chief (Santa Cruz County Operations) also reports to the Director of General Services, under the supervision of the Fire Chief. Line personnel are supervised by the on-duty Battalion Chief that reports to the Deputy Chief. They are responsible for day to day operations, including emergency incident management and daily liaison to county and fire agencies.

County Fire is a “combination” type of department having both volunteer and paid personnel. Our five dedicated volunteer fire companies assist in providing an effective level of fire protection and emergency response that allows for a level of staffing, fire stations, and equipment that could not otherwise be accomplished. The department responds to over 2000 emergency incidents a year in the communities of South Skyline, Loma Prieta/Burrell, Bonny Doon, Davenport, Corralitos, and Pajaro Dunes.