Fire commissioners form joint association

In late May, fire commissioners from Clallam and Jefferson counties announced they formed the Olympic Peninsula Fire Commissioners Association with leaders saying via press release it’s part of an effort to increase and enhance communication between area fire districts.

Six Clallam County fire districts — including Sequim’s Clallam County Fire District 3, and two Jefferson County fire districts — are currently represented as active members of the association, with membership open to other fire districts within the 24th Legislative District.

Association President Keith Cortner, a fire commissioner with Fire District 2 (Port Angeles area), said the association is not a decision-making group for any individual district, but will actively support continuing education and participation by organizations that further the goals and activities of the fire service.

“Collaboration among fire districts enhances personnel training and response capabilities to the benefit of all Clallam and Jefferson County residents,” Cortner said.

Fellow Fire District 2 Fire Commissioner Steve Hopf originated the idea for the association last year after many individual discussions and informal meetings.

In June 2023, Port Angeles and Sequim area fire districts met for a joint meeting in the Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles for what may have been the first formal meeting of its kind between the agencies. They spoke about potential cooperation and partnerships such as buying bulk equipment, shared incident response and more.

The new commissioner association officially formed in August 2023, Cortner said, and was organized to foster the participation of all duly elected and/or appointed fire commissioners, Regional Fire Authority Governance Board (RFA) members and other elected or appointed officials of emergency services organizations in the 24th Legislative District on the Olympic Peninsula.

The association meets monthly with members providing district updates and suggestions for collaboration. There are also guest speakers who provide updates on a range of topics.

Associate membership, Cortner said, is open to other groups or individuals involved in activities in support of improved and effective fire protection, emergency preparedness and emergency medical services to the citizens of the Olympic Peninsula.

Individuals or groups interested in participating can contact Cortner at