Yakima County is divided into 12 fire protection districts. Each district is managed by a three-member board of commissioners.
Fire protection districts are formed for the provision of fire prevention services, fire suppression, emergency medical services and for the protection of life and property in areas outside of cities (in the unincorporated areas of the county). Because fire districts are political subdivisions of the state and municipal corporations, the only authority for administrative operations are decisions made by the elected board of fire commissioners.
The board has authority to hire and appoint employees (e.g. chief, secretary, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, etc.) but has full responsibility and authority of all aspects of the district. The board is required to hold regular monthly meetings and must comply with the Open Public Meeting Act and the public records statutes.
The county treasurer serves as the financial agent for a district. The treasurer collects taxes and assessments that are levied under the authority of the fire commissioners. The district, being a special purpose district, levies regular property taxes to provide services to the public; additionally, with voter approval, the board may issue bonds and make excess levies for specific purposes.
The voters elect commissioners to staggered six-year terms. These commissioners are subject to and must comply with all laws pertaining to fire districts, public officials and other applicable Washington State and federal statutes.