Fire districts will meet to discuss consolidation

Published on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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The boards of both North Whatcom Fire and Rescue and Fire District 4 will meet on Thursday to hammer out the details of a contract that would consolidate their services.

Officials from both districts will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, at fire station 71 in Lynden. The meeting, expected to take about three hours, will include a hour-long executive session.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue chief Tom Fields explained a consolidation of services is different from a merger of districts in that the two districts would keep separate fire chiefs and boards of commissioners, but share personnel and funds to a certain degree. NWFR, the largest fire district in Whatcom County, is the result of a 2007 merger between districts 13 and 3. A district merger requires a vote of the people, Fields said.

The consolidation of the two districts is in preparation for an eventual merger, Fields added.

The boundaries of NWFR and district 4, which covers northeast Bellingham and east Lake Whatcom, meet at East Smith and Noon roads. Fields said being able to staff district 4’s stations with NWFR personnel would improve NWFR’s response time to emergencies in the southeast portion of their district.

Fire station 71 is located at 307 19th Street in Lynden.