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Thurston County Fire and Emergency Services Impact Fee to Begin March 1, 2018 for S.E. Thurston Fire Authority

OLYMPIA – The Thurston County Board of Commissioners adopted Fire and Emergency Services Growth Management Impact Fees for certain types of new construction permits within S.E. Thurston Fire Authority’s jurisdiction on January 23, 2018. The fees are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2018.

The S.E. Thurston Fire Authority’s Board of Fire Commissioners requested the county collect the fees on their behalf. After conducting public meetings to hear from citizens about this request and assessing the impacts, the County adopted amendments to the impact fee code in September 2016, April 2017 and January 2018. The authority to collect impact fees for fire districts and authorities was added with these amendments, and the County will collect the fees on their behalf.

You can view more detailed information about the proposal on the Thurston County Community Development Long Range Planning website.

What are Fire and Emergency Services Impact Fees?

Fire and emergency services impact fees are used to fund new developments’ share of facility and major equipment needs. Impact Fees are not charged for internal remodeling work on existing structures and other selected types of construction, such as:

  • Single-family homes with residential fire sprinklers
  • Ag-exempt structures up to 775 square feet
  • Structures not requiring permits
  • Bulkheads
  • Retaining Walls
  • Stair Towers
  • Ground based solar panels
  • Structures which are not frequently used such as: docks, walking surfaces such as porches and decks
  • Any addition to current structures which is less than 500 square feet

Impact fees are based on the square footage of the proposed building. The fee rate is $0.36 per square foot.  The fee is based on S.E. Thurston Fire Authority’s Impact Fee Rate Study and on their Capital Facilities Plan. 

Impact fees will be assessed at the time a completed building application is submitted to the Thurston County Permit Assistance Center.  Impact Fees will be collected at time of Building Permit issuance. 

Credit: Thurston County Website

Capital Budget Funds for Fire Department

The S.E. Thurston Fire Authority will benefit from the Capital Budget. The State Capital Budget is separate from the operating budget. The Capital Budget is used for funding construction. Lawrence Lake Fire Station #22, serving the Vail Road area has been awarded $252,000.


S.E. Thurston Fire Chief Mark King said, “The funding will go toward site land preparation including, permits, Pocket Gopher study, Site Preparation, new septic tank, drill well, and structural design. We know that the money awarded will not cover the whole cost to build the new fire station, but it will be a good start”.


The rebuilding and reopening of the Lawrence Lake Fire Station, which also serves the Vail Road area will create housing for firefighters allowing SETFA to staff this station 24/7. A fire station located in the Southern area of the fire district would provide faster emergency medical service and fire protection.


Presently, the City of Yelm or Rainier is left without emergency medical services and fire protection when personnel and equipment are dispatched to other areas, for example, Lawrence Lake and Vail Road areas. Travel time (round trip) can take up to 40 minutes, plus time on scene. With traffic congestion on Hwy 507 and 510, add more time for response. Anytime I-5 backs up between Tacoma and Lacey, driving through Yelm is a natural alternate route that chokes traffic to a dead stop.


Yelm is one of the faster growing cities in Washington. The population based on the 2010 census was 6,484. In the year 2017, the census estimate is 8,665. This growth makes the need for 24/7 emergency medical services and fire protection. Rebuilding and opening the Lawrence Lake Fire Station will benefit the entire area, Citizens of Yelm, Rainier, Lawrence Lake and the Vail Road areas.



The Lawrence Lake Fire Station, serving the Vail Road area was made possible through the hard work of your legislators from District 2, Senator Randi Becker, Representative J.T. Wilcox and Representative Andrew Barkis and District 20 Senator John Braun, Representative Richard DeBolt and Representative Ed Orcutt.

Are You and Your Family Prepared for an Active Shooter?

Due to a rise in active shooter incidents and the escalating impact of hostile events, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has started to process a new standard for professionals and community members to use when dealing with an active shooter or hostile event. 

To read more about NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events, click here.

Flood Watch!

Thurston, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties are all currently under a flood watch, starting Friday afternoon (12-29-17) and lasting until Saturday afternoon (12-30-17), as of this posting. According to the National Weather Service alert, the watch means that there is a chance of flooding, based on current forecasts. Keep up to date with the latest forecasts and check the NWS watch alert here.

SETFA Among Train Accident First Responders

Around 7:40 this morning, the new Amtrak Cascades train derailed near Mounds Road, close to DuPont. The train left the Tacoma Dome Station, heading to Olympia and Portland, derailed off the bridge near DuPont, hitting multiple vehicles on I-5. All southbound lanes on I-5 have been closed as first responders work the scene. Firefighters/EMT and Law Enforcement from SE Thurston Fire Authority (Yelm & Rainier), Lacey Fire District #3, Olympia, Pierce County, and others are on the scene. 

The Amtrak Cascades line runs from Vancouver, British Columbia through Olympia on its way to Eugene, Oregon, and is jointly managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). This specific train was part of a newly launched high-speed service between Seattle and Portland.

Photo: Washington State Police | Trooper Brooke Bova


So, what happened?

Details are still coming, but here’s what’s known so far: Around 7:40 this morning, the train, moving at nearly 80 miles per hour, derailed along the Point Defiance Bypass, spilling over the overpass onto I-5 and striking cars on the roadway. This train was running a new route with new high-speed locomotives.

Photo: Washington State Police | Trooper Brooke Bova












King5 will have updates on this story.