What Is a Regional Fire Authority?
A regional fire protection service authority, commonly referred to as a Regional Fire Authority or “RFA”, is a special purpose district created by the vote of the people residing in the proposed district (chapter 52.26 RCW). Its boundaries are coextensive with two or more adjacent fire protection jurisdictions (fire district, city, town, port district, municipal airport, or Indian tribe). It is a municipal corporation, an independent taxing authority within the meaning of article 7, section 1 of the state constitution, and a taxing district within the meaning of article 7, section 2 of the state constitution.
Regional fire authorities were authorized in 2004. The legislature noted that the ability to respond to emergency situations by many of Washington state’s fire protection jurisdictions had not kept up with the state’s needs, particularly in urban regions and that efficiency could be gained by regional fire protection service delivery.
Examples of Washington RFAs
Some of the RFAs similar in make-up and size to Bellingham include:
Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority – includes the Cities of Kent and Covington and King County Fire District 37; formed 2010. http://pugetsoundfire.org/
Valley Regional Fire Authority – includes the cities of Auburn, Pacific, and Algona; formed 2007. http://www.vrfa.org/
Riverside Fire Authority – includes the City of Centralia and Lewis County Fire District 12; formed 2008. http://www.riversidefire.net/
South Snohomish Regional Fire Authority – includes the City of Lynnwood and South Snohomish County Fire District 1; formed 2017. http://www.firedistrict1.org/
Renton Regional Fire Authority – includes the city of Renton and King County Fire District 25; formed 2016.
The Renton RFA is one of the most recently created RFAs in the State. A copy of their regional fire protection service authority plan can be found at: http://rentonrfa.com/