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Fire & Life Safety

Safety Tips

Wildfire Awareness

The Spokane Valley Fire Department serves a unique geographical area with a variable climate and topography.

Fruithill Road Fire: Valley crews battle fast moving fire that threatened several homes on 4/29/2006. FD #9 and a PBY assisted bringing the flames under control. Minor damage to one home.

The elements that make this community special also create unique challenges to the fire department that protects it.  Summer season in this region is known for moderate to hot dry days which tends to dry out not only lawns but the native grasses, trees and other vegetation.  Dry vegetation coupled with the development of homes into wooded and semi wooded areas creates what we in the fire service refer to as the Wildland-Urban Interface.

Wildland-Urban interface areas are most impacted from fires started naturally such as lightning strikes or accidentally from unattended fire pits or burning brush during high risk times.  SVFD makes all attempts to extinguish these fires quickly before they consume homes or property.  Our firefighters complete annual training based on methods to attack and extinguish these wildfires with as little property loss as possible.  We also strive to prevent future fires from occurring through pro-active education, newsletters and Wildland-Urban Interface Pre-Planning available to all homeowners in the district (call 928-1700).

We urge residents to help us protect your home from wildfire by making your home more defendable. Ideas include:

  • Clearly mark your home address on your house and next to the road – we want to find you quickly in an emergency!
  • Prune back overgrown bushes and trees so lowest tree branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground
  • Create a defensible space at least 30 feet around your home by keeping a green manicured lawn or watered area (clear at least 100 feet if your home is on a hillside)
  • Clear leaves, dry pine needles and other debris from roofs, gutters, eaves, porches and decks
  • Move flammable materials such as firewood stacks, propane tanks and dry vegetation away from your home
  • Choose heat- and flame-resistant construction materials for homes, decks, porches and fences

In high risk Wildland-Urban Interface areas it is best to know more than one exit point out of your subdivision in the instance that a fire blocks your primary route you are able to safely exit out the other.  SVFD will continue to train it’s personnel to defend your homes against Urban Interface Wildland fires and we encourage you to create and use the defensible ideas listed above.  A defensible space could just save your home or property.

Learn more about creating a defensible space around your home

Valleyview Fire: 12 homes and several out buildings were destroyed. The fire broke out the afternoon of July 10, 2008. Winds were reaching 50 mph and was a major factor contributing to the loss of the homes and approx. 1000 acres burned. Several area fires were already burning when this fire broke out and local resources were already depleted, which slowed the response to this incident. Resources and firefighters from all local departments assisted as well as several state resources, and a WA state Type 2 incident management team.

All SVFD firefighters are certified to combat wildland fires. The Department is capable of deploying one specialized wildland engine, three Wildland-Urban Interface (UWI) Brush Trucks and a Communications Trailer to combat these specialized types of fires.  Additional support for combating UWI fires comes from neighboring fire agencies and in significant events, through a State of Washington mobilization process that can deploy teams from departments throughout the state.  SVFD provides personnel and equipment to support the mobilization process as part of a regional Spokane County effort to combine resources from many different departments in a coordinated manner.

Video on Spokane Valley’s 2008 Valley View Fire and the FireWise program to create defensible space:

Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”