Klickitat County Fire District 3 was legally established in November of 1952 and since that time our community has been served by hundreds of citizen hero’s, each giving their time and energy for the best possible reason – to help others in need.
Today, we continue to provide customer service to roughly 55 square miles of industrial, rail, commercial, urban, and rural communities in the SW corner of Klickitat County Washington. Our coverage spans from the mouth of the White Salmon River, north beyond BZ Corners, east into the Gilmer Valley, southeasterly encompassing Snowden and Burdoin Mountain, back down to the Columbia River, surrounding the cities of White Salmon and Bingen. Our agency is part of a written automatic-aid response structure, meaning the dedicated members of both White Salmon and Bingen fire departments partner with us in providing service to our customers.
District 3 consists of three stations: the headquarters in Husum, also known as Station 31, Station 32 in Snowden, and our satellite Station 33 in the upper Snowden community. We are fortunate to have a diverse membership of volunteers who work as 911 dispatchers, deputies, business owners, contractors, IT professionals, mechanics, veterinary technicians, river raft guides, farmers, lawyers and other professionals who are all dedicated to our mantra; Customer Service First.
While we enjoy the rural feel in these areas, our ability to provide fire suppression, emergency medical, fire prevention, vehicle extrication and numerous other services is paramount. Our volunteers train weekly, and often take advantage, of specialized training when the opportunity is presented. On incidents such as river emergencies, we work closely with our local Search and Rescue team and rafting guide companies.
Fire District 3 is in what is called the Columbia River Gorge transition zone, meaning dry conditions are considered normal and elevate the risk of wildfires. With that in mind, Fire District 3 maintains a close working relationship with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, community groups and individual property owners to prevent human caused wildfires.
To ensure we can safely and effectively respond to the expectations of our community; we will continue frugal spending and focused evaluations of the district’s needs at all levels. A great example of this would be our successful voter-approved bond in 2018. We utilized that funding to tackle what could have never been possible out of the annual operating budget – capital improvements to our facilities. All three stations received significant remodeling which should enable them to last another 25-30 years.
Fire District 3 is proud of our financial history. Frugal spending has been part of our financial story for many years and continues to be important as we prepare for the future, as well as transparency with our customers, and compliance with county and state rules and regulations.
In 2013 we utilized a Citizens Taskforce to provide us with recommendations and expectations of the community. We listened to them and have implemented major changes since then. A few of the original task force group remain very active in Board of Commissioner meetings to monitor our progress. In 2022 another group of citizens were convened and began working on detailed discovery about the competency of both Fire District 3 and the City of White Salmon Fire Department. Our goal is to receive their recommendations and begin the process to achieve their expectations of service and organization.
WESLEY W. LONG – FIRE CHIEF