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The Backdraft — November 2019


Date: December 31, 2019

From the Chief

Chief Mike Ray
Michael Ray, District Fire Chief

Welcome to the inaugural Skagit County Fire District 3 newsletter. Thank you for reading.

Your Fire District comprises of more than 40 men and women, who volunteer as firefighters and EMT’s. They all respond from home or work to more than 450 emergency calls each year. We respond from two fire stations, Station 1 at 21020 Greenfield Street, and Station 2 at 19746 E. Hickox Road. Our Fire District covers 41 square miles and serves more than 5400 people. Our firefighters and EMT’s train weekly, to ensure we can provide safe and effective responses to your needs. I have had the pleasure of serving as your Fire Chief since June 2017.

Fire District 3 is committed to bring you safe effective responses to your calls for help. We do so with strict adherence to fiscal spending, operating debt free. Our call volume continues to rise, growing 32% over the past 5 years. We continue to operate with a balanced budget.

Our long-range planning, which was completed in 2018, and involved community members, has worked to identify the needs of the Fire District through the year 2030. Those needs include, safety equipment, fire engines and station updates. In this plan, we worked diligently to be realistic about our needs, keeping the projected costs at a minimum. In order to keep up with the needs of the Fire District, the commissioners have discussed the need to increase revenue. This resulted in discussions considering a levy lid lift. The commissioners have only discussed considering a lid lift. No formal action has been taken. We hope to garner discussion on this topic as we move into 2020.

We are always happy to give a tour, and answer questions. If you see any of us at either station, you can just stop and say hello. You may consider thanking those volunteers, and perhaps even consider volunteering yourself.

Thank you again for taking the time to read our newsletter!

Michael Ray
District Fire Chief

Member Profile — Lieutenant Darrin Morrison

Lieutenant Darrin Morrison

For 28 years, Lieutenant Morrison has left his home or work to respond to emergencies as a firefighter for Skagit County Fire District 3. A lifelong member of our community, Darrin’s family helped to serve the Skagit Valley in the late 1890’s. Initially Darrin wasn’t interested in being a firefighter, but after the 1990 flood, and a small chimney fire at his home that spring, he joined the Fire District. He says asking questions is the key to growing and developing as a firefighter. He enjoyed hearing the stories of veteran firefighters. “That’s stuff they don’t teach you in the academy”, Darrin says. In 2000, Darrin was promoted to Lieutenant and was most recently in charge of our fire engine maintenance.

Now in their 5th generation, Morrison farms, whose green and white buildings are prominent on the east side of Interstate 5 south of Mount Vernon, is where Darrin lives and works. Potatoes are king in this part of the valley. Farming is much more science than most people realize, according to Darrin. They are continually improving farming techniques with a high priory of preserving the environment for the next generation.

Darrin will continue to serve the community as a commissioner for Diking District 3. He is looking forward to riding his motorcycle more this spring and summer.

If you see Darrin out and about, please wave and say thank you for his lifelong commitment to our community.

Fire District Current Events

George Larsen Marine Rescue – formerly part of Skagit County Search and Rescue, and not active for the past three years. Your Fire District has taken over this critical need, and we continue to train with a goal of formally being operational in early 2020.

Cancer is a leading cause of death, and illness in firefighters. In an effort to combat this terrible disease and protect the health and safety of your firefighters, in 2020 we are installing diesel exhaust removal systems in both stations. Diesel exhaust has been shown to be a contributor to cancer in firefighters.

The volunteer firefighter associations, who raise money with an annual auction and golf tournament, are working to provide $25,000 worth of new extrication tools to the Fire District. These are additional tools, called a combi-tool, which will be battery operated and kept on our fire engines.

Please look to thank commissioners Tony Pratt and Ed Kemper. Both commissioner Pratt and Kemper were unsuccessful at re-election. Commissioners Pratt and Kemper dedicated countless hours serving your Fire District for many years. In 2020, you will welcome two new Fire Commissioners – Steve Boon and Matt Stratton.

Contact Info

Skagit County Fire District #3
PO Box 753
Conway, WA 98238
Non-Emergency Phone 360-424-1661

For Emergencies, Please Call 911

Skagit County Fire District 3 provides an emergency response to 5,400 people over 41 square miles. The district is bordered by the Snohomish-Skagit County line to the south; the Mount Vernon city limits to the north along the I-5 corridor; the Skagit River estuary to the west; and, east of the Conway School. Approximately 40 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians respond to an average of 450 calls a year. For more information, please visit www.skagitfire3.org.