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Rural 7 to host Box Canyon open house


September 18, 2019

Rural 7 Fire & Rescue is hosting an open house at the new Box Canyon Station 10 addition at 184 Box Canyon Rd. on Saturday, Sept. 28 , from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Goldendale community is invited for a tour and some refreshments.

Rural 7 Fire has, for several years, been working to lower the “WSRB” rating for its outlying stations. WSRB is the Washington State Ratings Bureau, which evaluates all Washington communities for their fire protection and suppression capabilities based on distribution of fire stations, automatic aid, water supply, apparatus, and equipment, and assigns a rating of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best possible rating. Insurance rates for property owners are based on the WSRB rating given to each station.

Due to the large geographic area of approximately 600 square miles under Rural 7’s fire protection, Rural 7 Fire has 11 fire stations, each with its own rating. You can visit their website at for a listing of stations and ratings. Rural 7 has been in the process of acquiring Type 1 Structure Engines and other equipment to lower the ratings of stations which in turn can lower the insurance cost for homeowners within that fire district. In order to properly house the fire engines, it has been necessary to upgrade some stations to make room to accommodate the new equipment. In 2015, Hoctor Station 3 was rebuilt and Engine 709 was purchased, bringing the rating of that station from a 9A to an 8. The cost of both the station and the engine was approximately $300,000.

Starting in late spring of 2019, Box Canyon Station 10 had an addition built to house Engine 714 which also dropped the insurance rating to an 8 benefitting many residents in the area. Work was completed at the end of August of 2019. The approximate cost of the Box Canyon addition was $300,000. Engine 714 and its equipment cost an additional $100,000.

This year, Rural 7 Fire was gifted a 1996 Spartan Type 1 Structure Engine from Portland Fire which was almost completely outfitted with equipment. The new engine allowed Rural 7 to have a structure engine at Blockhouse Station 2, and the department is currently working to get a lower 8A rating for that station. In order to qualify for the lower rating, there needs to be a minimum of six firefighters who live within five miles of the station. Currently there are only three firefighters assigned to the Blockhouse Station who qualify.

In the five-year plan for Rural 7 Fire, the goal is to add Type 1 Engines to both Woodland Station 9 and Firwood Station 8 , improving the ratings at both locations. Firwood also faces the same issue of not having enough firefighters assigned. If you are interested in volunteering, visit the department’s website or stop by Station 1 in Goldendale Monday-Friday to pick up an application.

In addition to the 11 stations, Rural 7 Fire & Rescue operates and maintains: 14 Brush Trucks, 7 Type 1 Structure Engines, six Water Tenders, four Attack Tenders aka “Monsters,” two Rescue Apparatus, two Command Vehicles, and several support vehicles. This is done with the work of 120 volunteers, three full-time employees, two part-time employees, and three fire commissioners.


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