Navajo Nation to Operate Reservation Fire Stations

The Navajo Nation Fire Department will be taking over operations of the Shiprock, Newcomb, and Ojo Amarillo Fire Departments on October 4, 2016 ending several years of planning and negotiations between San Juan County and the Navajo Nation.  Several options were proposed to continue fire services when funding became a concern for the county after the downturn in the economy. 

From the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management:

The Navajo Nation Fire Department will be taking over operations of the Shiprock, Newcomb, and Ojo Amarillo Fire Departments on October 4, 2016 ending several years of planning and negotiations between San Juan County and the Navajo Nation.  Several options were proposed to continue fire services when funding became a concern for the county after the downturn in the economy.  The primary concern was major reductions to the Gross Receipts Fire Excise tax, which is used to pay operating expenses for all county fire operations. The Gross Receipts Fire Excise Tax is only collected in the unincorporated areas of San Juan County, outside the municipalities and Tribal Lands. 

Three options for continued operational management of these fire departments included supplemental funding from the Navajo Nation to San Juan County to continue services, discontinue service, or transfer operations to the Navajo Nation along with the stations, apparatus and associated equipment.  In October of 2015, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye began working with San Juan County toward the transfer of these fire department operations to the Navajo Nation.  Originally scheduled to transfer the stations in April, Navajo Nation Fire Department officials asked for an extension to October 1, 2016 and then requested another extension to October 4, 2016 to accommodate the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

On October 4th, Navajo Nation Fire will assume authority for the operations and equipment associated with the Shiprock, Newcomb, and Ojo Amarillo Fire Stations, ending over twenty years of fire services provided in these areas by San Juan County Fire Department.  San Juan County Fire Chief Craig Daugherty would like to recognize the “countless hours’ members of these departments have put in serving these communities and thank them for their service.”  Areas on the Navajo Nation west from Hogback, South of the San Juan River and south along NM Highway 371 will comprise the new jurisdiction covered by Navajo Nation Fire Department. San Juan County Fire Department will continue to provide mutual aid to these areas when the need arises and as requested by Navajo Nation Fire.

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