Modesto Regional Fire Authority board votes to disband agency

The Modesto Regional Fire Authority board voted Wednesday to dissolve the agency formed in 2011 by the Modesto Fire Department, Stanislaus County’s fire warden’s office and the Salida Fire Protection District.

The dissolution is effective June 30, and the MRFA board vote came after votes by the Modesto City Council, county Board of Supervisors and Salida board Tuesday to disband the agency. The three governments also approved a memorandum of understanding spelling out how MRFA will disband and return assets to its parent agencies.

The MRFA board vote was 3-0. The board is composed of representatives from the city, county and Salida.

Modesto will get its Fire Department back July 1 and will provide Salida with fire protection services for one year at a cost of $1.2 million. Salida’s professional firefighters became Modesto employees when MRFA was formed.

Officials have said MRFA needed to grow by adding other fire agencies but was unable to do so for a variety of reasons, including agencies’ concerns about MRFA’s governing structure and turning over their assets to the fire authority.

But officials say they will continue to pursue regional cooperation among local fire agencies through a model that promotes efficiencies through such measures as standardized equipment, training and policies while maintaining agencies’ independence.