YAKIMA, Wash.- The Yakima Fire Department is facing a potential 10% budget cut for 2025-26 that could mean layoffs for firefighters and the closing of one station.
Fire Chief Aaron Markham presented what a 10% budget cut would look like for the department and what it would mean for fire services as the population continues to rise and the YFD responds to an increase of calls at a Yakima City Council meeting on May 23.
According to Chief Markham's presentation a 10% cut means slashing about $1.7 million from the YFD's budget, which would result in the layoffs of 12 firefighters, as well closing Station 92 (located at 7707 Tieton Dr.).
Laying off 12 firefighters would mean a reduction of daily staffing from 23 to 20, which is the equivalent of one full company or station.
Closing Station 92 would mean there would be no available engine west of 40th Ave. increasing emergency response times, especially for locations farther west, as engines from across the city would be forced to respond out of their normal service areas according to Chief Markham.
In response to the potential budget cuts for the YFD the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 469 has been making proposals to address underfunding and YFD issues to Chief Markham, Yakima City Manager Bob Harrison and the City Council.
None of the proposals have been formally adopted yet according to the IAFF, including:
- Providing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to firefighters (jackets and pants).
- Reinstating the YFD Community Risk Reduction Officer position (would create a prevention, education and investigative division of the YFD.
- Generate funds by putting two used ambulances, Medic 90 and Medic 290, into service (which would potentially provide billable services to fund the YFD without raising taxes).
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