Continuing to Build Partnerships with Tribal Nations, State Adds San Manuel Fire Department to Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System


This addition amplifies the robust California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System and Bolsters Community Incident Response Capability

SAN BERNARDINO – In an ongoing endeavor to safeguard California communities against various disasters, including wildfires, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is proud to announce a new Tribal Nation partnership.

Through an agreement with the state, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and San Manuel Fire Department are now partners of the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System.

In particular, Cal OES is assigning a Type III fire engine to the San Manuel Fire Department, increasing their capability to respond to local and statewide incidents.

During times of disaster, this engine may be called upon to preposition ahead of or respond to emergency incidents statewide.

“Adding a new Tribal Nation to the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System is a source of pride for Cal OES,” said Nancy Ward, Director of Cal OES. “Deploying additional resources in California communities means we can keep more people safe as we continue to strive towards swifter disaster response.”

“This government-to-government partnership provides for San Manuel to play an even more significant role in safeguarding California,” said Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “The Governor and legislature recognize the critical role of tribes in managing emergency services, and through this agreement, we enhance our capacity to carry out the essential governmental responsibility of protecting people, wildlife, and our sacred ancestral lands.”

Through legislation signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, the state is now allowed to enter into mutual aid agreements with tribes, boosting tribal access for federal funding and reimbursements when they assist with disasters, like wildfires.

This new partnership adds to the already robust California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, deploying a fleet of more than 270 fire engines to over 150 fire departments across the state. Before and during a disaster or emergency, these engines and crew can rapidly deploy across the state to increase local capacity.

Type III fire engines are 4-by-4 vehicles that can go off-road to battle California wildfires in addition to responding to all-hazard events. They have the capacity to carry a 4-person crew and carry 500 gallons of water.


Cal OES serves as the state’s lead emergency management agency, including respond, directing, and coordinate state and federal resources and mutual aid assets across all regions to support communities across the state.


The San Manuel Fire Department (SMFD) provides emergency and non-emergency services to protect the lives and property of our Tribal Citizens, employees, patrons, and guests of our Reservation. SMFD also safeguards environmental, cultural, and economic resources.

Critical to the San Manuel Fire Department’s mission is to develop, implement, and maintain innovative prevention programs and strategies, as well as safety education and training for our community.

SMFD fosters partnerships with other tribal departments, as well as outside public safety agencies, to promote a dynamic emergency response capability.

SMFD operates from a state-of-the-art fire station in service since June 2004. This facility serves as headquarters, training center, and firehouse and encompasses approximately 14,000 square feet. The Fire Chief heads a department of 32 full-time employees, including administrative staff.