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Green Valley Fire officially renamed Santa Rita Fire District

Fire district will cover all of Sahuarita previously serviced by Rural Metro
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 01, 2024

SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KGUN) — The towns of Sahuarita and Green Valley are experiencing a significant change in their fire service starting Monday, July 1.

Previously, the southern half of Sahuarita was served by Green Valley Fire, while the northern half, including areas like Rancho Sahuarita, relied on membership-based services from Rural Metro Fire.

From now on, the entire town will be unified under a single fire district: the Santa Rita Fire District.

At Station 154, firefighters were seen preparing their equipment for this transition. In the morning, hoses were being cleaned out, wrapped and stored into trucks by firefighters wearing their new Santa Rita Fire District uniforms.

The switch to the Santa Rita Fire District is more than just a branding exercise. The department will take over areas previously serviced by Rural/Metro fire, including Rancho Sahuarita, the town’s largest development.

“As we made our expansion up here in northern Sahuarita, we’ve looked to change our name to be more inclusive of all the areas we served,” said Chuck Wunder, chief of Santa Rita Fire District.”

The change follows a months-long informational campaign run by the (now former) Green Valley Fire. Sahuarita residents were informed of the changes and had the opportunity to ask any questions they had about the changes.

Community feedback has been largely positive. "I’ve talked to a lot of people over the past few months,” said Ed Lytle, a resident of Rancho Sahuarita. “There were some questions at first but I think they’re going to be very satisfied."

Along with the new name, the funding mechanism will also change for Sahuarita residents. Under Rural/Metro, residents had to subscribe to a monthly membership.

In contrast, Santa Rita Fire services will be paid for through taxes and include every resident in the Town of Sahuarita.

Residents like Lytle say that the new system could be an improvement.

“I don’t have to see it every month and it comes out of my taxes,” Lytle said. “That’s going to work better for myself and I’m sure it’s going to work better for most of the people here in Sahuarita.”

According to officials with Santa Rita Fire, the new firetrucks with updated logos may take a few months to a couple of years to be fully integrated.

However, the fire district assures residents that they are ready to serve the town immediately.

“We’ve been fortunate and blessed to have enough resources in place,” said Chief Wunder. “It’s an exciting time for us at Santa Rita Fire District.”

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Joel Foster is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9 who previously worked as an English teacher in both Boston and the Tucson area. Joel has experience working with web, print and video in the tech, finance, nonprofit and the public sectors. In his off-time, you might catch Joel taking part in Tucson's local comedy scene. Share your story ideas with Joel at joel.foster@kgun9.com, or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.