Rural Fire Protection Districts

ORS 478.260
Fire chief and assistants

  • headquarters
  • acquisition of site
  • fire and first-aid apparatus and equipment
  • emergency medical and ambulance services


The district board shall select a fire chief qualified by actual experience as a firefighter and fire precautionist, or otherwise, and assistants, volunteer or otherwise, and fix their compensation. The fire chief shall be responsible for the equipment and properties of the district. Under the direction of the board, the fire chief shall be responsible for the conduct of the fire department.


The board, with advice and counsel of the fire chief, shall select the location of the fire house or houses or headquarters of the fire department of the district. Such sites shall be chosen with a view to the best service to the residents and properties of the whole district and may be acquired by purchase or exercise of the powers of eminent domain in the manner provided by ORS chapter 35. The board may purchase apparatus and equipment as needed by the district, and provide a water system, ponds or reservoirs for the storage of water for fire-fighting purposes. Or the board may contract with water companies or districts, or both, for water service and facilities at a rate of compensation mutually agreed upon. The board also may divide the district into zones or subdivisions and provide an adequate system or code of fire alarms or signals by telephone, bell, whistle, siren or other means of communication.


A district may operate or acquire and operate, or contract for the operation of, emergency medical service equipment and vehicles both within and without the boundaries of the district. A district may conduct ambulance operations only in conformance with a county plan adopted under ORS 682.062 (County plan for ambulance and emergency medical services) for ambulance services and ambulance service areas and with rules of the Oregon Health Authority relating to such services and service areas. Service authorized under a county plan includes authorization for a district to provide ambulance services by intergovernmental agreement with any other unit of local government designated by the plan to provide ambulance services.


As used in this section, “ambulance services” has the meaning given that term in ORS 682.027 (Definition of “ambulance services” for ORS 682.031, 682.062 and 682.066). [Amended by 1953 c.369 §2; 1959 c.658 §1; 1967 c.348 §1; 1969 c.667 §17; 1973 c.192 §1; 1979 c.565 §1; 1981 c.538 §1; 1989 c.722 §1; 2009 c.595 §977]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

County authority to prohibit rural fire protection district's performance of services except in accordance with county standards, (1980) Vol 40, p 240

Chapter 478

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Propriety of office holding of a land owning nonresident elected director of a rural fire protection district, (1975) Vol 37, p 873

Law Review Citations

51 OLR 53 (1971)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021