History of the Kneeland Fire Department:

Prior to 1982 no fire or emergency services existed in the Kneeland areas east of Eureka. Fire and ambulance response was at least 30-40 minutes or longer depending on your location. Structure fires were addressed by CDF who would respond from Fortuna or Trinidad and possibly mutual aid from Humboldt Fire District if available. Response time was well over an hour. Obviously, nothing would be left of any structure fire. During these years CDF was not equipped to fight structure fires and could only take action to prevent a fire from escalating into the vegetation or forest area.

Between 1982-84 due to a continuing increase in population and residential development community members saw the need and formed the Kneeland Volunteer Fire Department. These volunteer fire fighters had no personal safety gear (PPE) and a 1943 fire truck that needed to be coasted on a hill to get it started.

During 1984 Volunteer firefighters finally started receiving other departments discarded PPE, but had no breathing apparatus (SCBA) to allow them to work around a burning structure until the early 2000’s. During the 1980’s in Humboldt County there was one paid department and one paid/volunteer department the rest were volunteer. A good many of these departments survived over the years and some became Fire Districts including Kneeland, allowing for improved funding.

Early on, funding consisted of pancake breakfasts, donations and other fund raisers. In 1990 Kneeland Fire placed an initiative on the ballot. It passed by 95% voter approval and the Kneeland Fire Protection District was formed.

The Kneeland Fire District consists of 36 square miles of mountainous rural properties and until 2016 Kneeland Fire provided “good will” emergency response to areas of a large buffer zone around the district where no organized first responder fire department existed. This out of district area increased the response area to well over 100 square miles.

During the late 1990’s Kneeland Fire continued to develop and grow with newer equipment, better trained volunteers and the urgent need to build a firehouse to support a thriving Kneeland community. In 2014 Measure “L” was passed by 84% of the Kneeland voters to increase the parcel tax fee with a special assessment to meet the future demands of a growing department and community. During 2016 Humboldt County Measure “Z”, the temporary County Sales tax increase passed and Kneeland Fire was able to update their apparatus and equipment to today’s standards.

Prior to 2016 the Out of District Response Area placed an enormous financial burden on the Kneeland Fire District and its taxpayers. After the Maple Creek Volunteer fire department folded and the financial burden became more apparent the County Supervisors approved a pilot program to help support Kneeland Fire financially for out of district responses and KFPD was temporarily funded via the Measure “Z” project.

Kneeland Volunteer Fire District’s call volume has quadrupled over the last 30 years and KFPD is a well-trained and respected volunteer department. Providing more services and using state of the art equipment to respond to the emergency needs of residents and travelers of the Kneeland area.

Today, Kneeland not only responds to structure and vegetation fires but medical aids, rescues, traffic accidents, hazardous conditions, low angle rescues and covers a response area of more than 100 square miles. Kneeland Fire provides this service today, just imagine what we will be able to do tomorrow.