Over the years, the Willows Fire Department has grown and restructured from a bucket brigade to present day fire engines as a result of city growth and technological changes.

During Willows’ history, there have been four major fires, which resulted in the establishment of the Willows Fire Department. On May 30, 1882, one of the most destructive fires nearly destroyed the entire downtown. Thirty-three buildings and many thriving businesses were lost at an estimated cost of $200,000.

The community rebuilt the city. Then, in 1886, in nearly the same location, another devastating fire struck downtown again. With strong winds blowing that day, nearly the entire block was demolished, only the bank was spared. The loss cost more than $140,000. Again, the city rebuilt, not only the downtown area, but another 50 homes were also added to the city limits.

With two back to back major and destructive fires, it was determined that the bucket brigade was not sufficient fire protection for the city.

In 1887, the Willows Fire Department was established with two hose companies. Each company was supplied with carts holding various fire equipment, including axes, ladders, nozzles and hoses. In 1914, the city purchased its first pumper – the first motorized apparatus.

The Fire Department was located at City Hall, on North Butte St, the location of present day “Willow Walk Mall.” The department stayed at that location until the present day downtown was established in the 1960’s prompting the Fire Department to move to its present location on South Butte Street in 1962.

Today, the Willows Fire Department and Willows Rural Fire Protection District control nine fire apparatus. There is a total of four paid staff including the Fire Chief, two Fire Captains and one Fire Engineer. In addition, the City’s Fire Department and Rural District rely heavily on the more than 30 volunteer firefighters of the Willows Volunteer Fire Department for emergency response, support and operations. The Volunteer Fire Department includes elected officers who manage the political and fundraising functions of the department. Although there are paid firefighters staffing the fire station 24-7, firefighter volunteers are absolutely essential to Willows fire protection operations. Staff requirements to respond to emergency calls frequently exceed paid career staff’s capabilities and require considerable volunteer support. Working together in partnership, the Willows Fire Department, Willows Rural Fire Protection District, and the Willows Volunteer Fire Department provide fire protection and emergency services to the greater Willows area.

As the City continues to grow and technology advances, the Willows Fire Department will continue to provide high quality fire protection and emergency medical services to the Willows community – just like it has for the past 120 years.

Nathan Monck
Fire Chief

445 South Butte St.
Willows, CA 95988

Department Hours

  • Sun: Closed
  • Mon: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sat: Closed