Sunnyside Rural Fire District

Sunnyside Rural Fire District

Mission: The mission of the Sunnyside Rural Fire District (SRFD) is to promote fire prevention and to secure life safety, incident stabilization, and property conservation during fire calls.

Officers: The District is administered by three elected Fire District Commissioners: Bob Barton, Janet Boyer and Richard Monaghan.  Administrative staff also includes Angie Pomponio, Secretary/Treasurer.

Fire operations: Rich Hull, Chief; Chris Goetz, Assistant Chief; Steve Laws, Company Officer.

The District was formed in 1994 and is an all volunteer Wildland Urban Interface type district that covers 28 sq. miles and has insurance protection class ratings of 5, 8, & 9. The total number of firefighters in the District averages about 22.

Coverage Area: The Fire District comprises about 10 square miles and is described as follows - District Boundaries: Easterly on Cavendish Grade (P1) at mile marker 1.5 house #4405, which is common to Orofino Fire District’s westerly boundary. Continuing up the grade to the last house #4571 (Mike Mathison) approximatelSunnyside Picy to Evergreen Fire Dist. southerly line. Within these boundaries lie all of Hall Rd. area, Sunnyside Trailer Park, New Hope Subdivision and Havlock Grade. Also included in the District is the area off the Cavendish Grade. In a westerly direction on the Sunnyside Road to the Clearwater County Line (including the Old Peck Grade road) & then by annual contract westerly on the Sunnyside Road into Nez Perce County including Canyon Vista Ln., Pecan Ln., Orchard Ln., Ryegrass Ln. & Mariposa Ln.

Population Supported: Sunnyside Rural Fire District includes a population of over 300 people and approximately 150 structures. The District also supports a contract area of an additional three square miles with a population of approximately 40 people. Additionally, the district provides mutual aid to Orofino Fire Department, Orofino Rural Fire District, Evergreen Rural Fire District (Cavendish), Twin Ridge Rural Fire District, Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association (C-PTPA), Idaho Department of Lands, and Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Fire Posse in areas of adjacent Nez Perce County. SRFD also does contract fire fighting for the US Forest Service.

Contact Information: Richard Hull's phone number is 208-827-0127. 

Meetings: District firefighters meet for training at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Fire Station, 7028 Cavendish Highway, Lenore, ID.

Brief History:

1981 - Johnny Stewart, an area resident and chief pilot for Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association (C-PTPA), tried unsuccessfully to raise interest in establishing a Fire Protection District in the Sunnyside area between Ahsahka, ID and the Clearwater - Nez Perce County line.


1993 - Since the area was increasing in population, Johnny Stewart, Barbara Paulson and John Willard started discussions again about the formulation of a Fire Protection District. Area residents met in Ahsahka Park in the spring and supported work to establish formal fire protection in accordance with Idaho Code 31-1400, Fire Protection Districts. Because of the interest expressed, Johnny Stewart and John Willard purchased a used fish hatcheryPic transport truck for use in fire protection.

In July, a large wildfire occurred across the Clearwater River in Peck which was clearly visible from the Sunnyside area. This incident encouraged District voters to overwhelmingly approve the formulation of the Sunnyside Rural Fire District in an August 1993 District Election.

Barbara Paulson, Johnny Stewart, and John Willard, were elected the first District Fire Commissioners. John Willard assumed the office of Fire Chief, and later, Marshall Cook accepted the position of Assistant Fire Chief. Other volunteers with experience in fire departments elsewhere and who had moved into the area have subsequently accepted positions as Fire Captains and Assistant Chiefs.

1994-2009 – Periodic financial grants, steady additions of equipment, changes and updates in firefighting apparatus, and continuous firefighter training has markedly improved the fire district’s capability to provide area fire protection.

In 2007, the District added a large training room and administration office to its station and a fourth apparatus bay will be added to the station in 2011.

The District upgraded & replaced vehicles such that the resource inventory now includes 2 command vehicles, Engine-91, a Type 6 brush truck, (currently housed away from the station); Engine-92, a Type 2 (reserve) structural engine; Engine 93, a Type 2 WUI structure engine; T-94, a 3000 gallon water tender; and Engine -95, a Type 2 structure engine. All engines are 4X4 as needed for the steep hillside terrain of the district.

In addition, the District has obtained Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), state of the art MSA Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs), and now has new thermal imaging cameras and remote temperature measuring equipment. The District also has the capability, through a cascade bottle system, of replenishing all SCBA tanks used in training & structural fire fighting.

To date, the Sunnyside Rural Fire District has saved at least 17 homes that were either eminently threatened by wildfires or involved in structure fires. The District firefighters have suppressed a number of grass, brush and timber fires over the years and on numerous occasions assist neighboring Districts and Fire Departments in support of mutual aid agreements.


In addition firefighters and apparatus from the District are part of a national resource response system and when requested have taken fire suppression and structure protection assignments on large wildland fires throughout Idaho and the western US. In 2008 an engine and crew spent 15 days in California helping to save homes in numerous areas of the state. Over the years the income from these assignment fires has helped substantially in the purchase newer apparatus, in enlarging the station, in improving communications and upgrading firefighter safety equipment.

As is the case with most volunteer fire districts, new members are always needed. The district is looking for new recruitment ideas to attract these needed volunteers.