2022 To Date: Growth
2022 started off busy and truly challenging for our members. On January 6th Upper Kittitas County received nearly 30″ of snow overnight, rendering the use of most apparatus useless until roads were cleared later in the day. Within hours of the storm, the district was paged out for a large structure fire which proved challenging for all involved.
Over the next several weeks’ District 7 and our neighboring districts experienced an influx of structure fires, gas leaks, structure collapses, and rescues as the snow continued to fall. Upwards of 6′-8′ in many places of the district. While January was much busier than normal, a relatively weather free next few months should have seemingly slowed call volumes down to normal levels; but that was not the case.
January, March, and April 2022 call volumes set a record for the district. This followed on the heels of 2021 when Fire District 7 responded to 837 calls for service, a new record and 150 more calls compared to 2020. Since January 2021 the district has broken call volume records in 8 of 12 months.
As of June 1st, 2022 Fire District 7 has responded to over 270 calls for service. 14 being working structure fires, six being vehicle fires, and four being extrication accidents. In all of 2021, the district responded to 12 structure fires. The district has seen a 12.5% increase in call volume compared to this time in 2021, and there are no signs of slowing down. The fire district has seen rapid residential development in the last year on Cle Elum Ridge, within Suncadia and Tumble Creek, and along the Hwy 970 corridor. This growth is only getting bigger and is showing no signs of stopping. With the population of Kittitas County expected to double in the next 3-4 years, we can only prepare and plan for the growth our district will see.
In September of 2021, we hired a 10th career firefighter position in the form of a Day Captain. This position, along with the full-time Deputy Chief that was hired in March of 2022, is bringing us closer to providing the service our residents and visitors deserve. In 2022 the district will purchase a modular home and place it at Station 72 on the east end of the district, providing a place for future firefighters to staff the station 24/7. The current goal is to staff station 72 by the end of 2023. By the end of 2022 we will have placed three new water tenders, four new brush trucks, and two new rescues in service, improving the quality and safety of our apparatus fleet and ensuring we have the right equipment to respond to your emergencies.
We are proud to provide service to the citizens and visitors of Upper Kittitas County and greatly appreciate your support that has allowed us to make improvements to our agency, which has resulted in better service to you, our citizens.