Salida Fire Protection District History

In the middle 1920's, a hose cart was purchased by the Salida Exchange Club which carried 250 ft. of hose. It was housed in a shed centrally located in the community. At this time there were also 8 to 10 hydrants scattered throughout the community. In the event a fire occurred members of the community would drag the cart to the scene of the fire and attempt to control the blaze.

The Board of Directors of the Stanislaus County Mutual Fire Insurance Company appointed five individuals to organize a Volunteer Fire Department for the unincorporated area of Salida in 1942. These men made up the Board of Directors for the new Fire Department and the Stanislaus County Fire Insurance Company provided a fire engine for the Department’s use. If you had a fire and you were insured by the Stanislaus County Fire Insurance Company, services were provided free of charge. However, a person serviced by the Fire Department who wasn't insured by the Stanislaus County Fire Insurance Company would be billed.

In 1955 the Salida Volunteer Fire Department was reorganized as a form of government when the community felt a fire district should be established. This type of special district would have the ability to levy a small tax to provide equipment and operating expenses and would function within Stanislaus County. They appointed a five-member commission to oversee the business of the Fire Department. The original Commissioners appointed were Ray Abendschan, Charles Wilder, Elvin DeBoer, J.E. Berlinger, and Harold Reinke.

In 1966 the Salida Volunteer Fire Department changed its name to what we know it as today, the Salida Fire Protection District. Currently the District is governed by five elected board of directors under the statutory authority found in California Health & Safety Code - The Fire Protection District Law of 1987 (Health & Safety Code §13800, et seq.).

Salida Fire has been led by fire chiefs Ray Abendschan, Jake Garber, Joe Vella, John Brubaker, and Dale Skiles. In 1989 the District employed its first fulltime personnel. Then in 2003 the Board of Directors decided to go from 40-hour/M-F coverage to 24-hour/365 fulltime staffing. The system has always been strongly supported by volunteer personnel.  

In July 2011 the Salida Fire Protection District became a member of the Modesto Regional Fire Authority Joint Powers Agency (JPA) along with Stanislaus County and the City of Modesto. The JPA members determined that services should be returned back to each individual partner agency as of July 2014 and the JPA was dissolved.

Today the Salida Fire Protection District operates one 24-hour staffed engine company, supported by volunteer/reserves, serving the communities of Salida and Del Rio as well as the Wood Colony area. A population of approximately 20,000 within 42 square miles is served.