The Mammoth Lakes Fire Department is a fire protection district originating in 1948 to serve the Mammoth Lakes community. The District boundaries encompass approximately 24 square miles of which only 4.6 sq miles is non-federal land. 90% of this 4.6 square miles is developed with over 7,500 residents and over 1,500,000 sq. ft. of commercial development. The population can vary from the 7,500 permanent residents to over 40,000 during peak weekends and holidays. The primary visitor attraction is the world class Mammoth Mountain Ski resort. In addition, the area offers diverse winter and summer recreational opportunities with lakes, streams, mountains, natural hot springs, connected by a vast network of roads and trails. Elevations vary from 7,000' to the top of Mammoth Mountain which is 11,052'. The center of Town is at 8,000' and has an annual average snowfall of over 500 inches.
MLFD works closely with the USFS in providing protection to the federal lands surrounding the Town. Although the fire season is relatively short the potential for a disastrous wildland fire is high.
The fire departments most valuable asset is its members. Currently the district has 11 full-time positions. The core of the department consists of over 50 paid-call dispatchers, firefighters, engineers, and captains. This dedicated and well trained department provides a high-level, professional service. Every year (in January) the department trains a new group of rookie firefighters. Applications can be obtained and turned in at any time to the district office.
MLFD recently staffed a 24/7 engine out of Station #1. We are using a very unique model to staff this engine. Two of the 24 hour shifts are staffed with full-time personnel and cover the weekdays. The weekends are covered by the volunteers who are paid for staffing the engine. This allows our volunteers the opportunity to respond on the first-out engine, polish their skills, and earn some extra money. The program has been very successful.
The district has an ISO rating of 3 and will continue to improve this rating. The area will continue to grow in complexity and population as the resort town grows to include more hotels, condos, and related businesses; all built on an active volcano. MLFD will continue to rise to the challenge with improved apparatus and equipment. The department will work closely with the Town, especially the police department, in improving the emergency response.