Pala Fire Department
The Pala Fire Department, established in 1978 with only two firefighters and a 300-gallon water tank, expanded in 1980 to a full-time volunteer department – operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Today, there is 30 full-time suppression personnel (Chief, Assistant Chief, Battalion Chief, Six Captains, Six Engineers, and 15 firefighters) and 15 reserve firefighters. The department’s equipment consists of a 100-foot Ladder Truck, Type One Structure Engine, and a Type Three Brush Engine, two Water Tenders, three Chief vehicles, and one utility pickup.
As Tribal members return to the reservation and the rapid construction of new homes increases, so does the fire department’s responsibility. Professionalism is of the utmost importance for the Pala Fire Department. The department maintains California State Fire Marshal certification status from the firefighter to the Chief Officer. The education of the department is extended to the public by means of lectures, school programs, door-to-door notices, and the newly developed newsletter.
The Pala Fire Department covers an area of 20-1/2 square miles, consisting of 13,315 acres and a population of 650 people. The average call volume is around 600 to 700 calls per year. The fire department has established mutual and automatic aid agreements with the surrounding fire departments such as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, North County Fire, Rincon Reservation Fire Department, Pechanga Fire Department, and Valley Center Fire Protection District.
In 2008, the Pala Fire Department completed construction of a $9 million Fire Station facility including a two-story building housing administration, sleeping quarters, and six bay garages for a total of 23,000 square feet. There is also a training classroom that can be utilized as an Emergency Operation Center during an unexpected event, and a four-story Training Tower with live fire burn rooms. The Pala Fire Department credits the support of the Tribal Community and Tribal Councils for its success.