Electoral Areas “M” & “N” Fire Protection

In 2024, the TNRD and City of Merritt entered into a five-year agreement to provide fire protection service to specific areas of Electoral Area “M” (Beautiful Nicola Valley – North) and Electoral Area “N” (Beautiful Nicola Valley – South).

Rural areas within this service boundary include Coldwater Road (north end), Harmon Estates, Lower Nicola, Miller Estates, Nicola Ranch and Nicola Cutoff Road.

Fire Protection Service Details

About Merritt Fire Rescue: Merritt Fire Rescue (MFR) is well-trained and well-equipped to respond to emergencies beyond city limits to support their TNRD neighbours. MFR is a “full service” Fire Department, committed to training firefighters to the NFPA 1001 standard for Fire Service Professional Qualifications.

Merritt has seven pieces of fire apparatus which includes:

  • Two Type 1 Structural Fire Engines
  • One 75f-t Quint Ladder Truck
  • One Type 1 Tactical Water Tender
  • One Type 5 Wildland Truck
  • One Rescue Truck
  • One Structure Protection Unit (SPU)
  • Two Administrative Vehicles

MFR is comprised of six full-time staff supported by an additional six live-in work experience program firefighters, plus 25 paid-on-call firefighters. MFR is led by Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson who has over 30 years of firefighting experience. All fire responses are based out of the Merritt Firehall, located at 1799 Nicola Avenue.

If an incident requires additional support, Merritt Fire Rescue can request assistance from the Lower Nicola Indian Band Fire Department through an existing mutual aid agreement.

Response time to TNRD properties within the fire protection area varies from approximately 5 minutes to 20 minutes depending on the drive time from the firehall. Longer response time is typical of all rural fire protection areas, however, even in a scenario where a structure cannot be saved, the response could mean a fire is prevented from jumping from one structure to the next (i.e. a garage fire contained from spreading to the house). 

Merritt Fire Rescue is also prepared to defend structures from approaching wildfires through setting up Structure Protection Units (SPU) and other activities to support a response from BC Wildfire Service.

It is important to note the alternative; having no fire protection service is a reality for most rural properties in B.C. In this scenario, no fire department will be dispatched by 9-1-1 in the event of a fire-related call.

Most insurance companies in Canada use the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) to determine fire protection premiums. The FUS rates fire departments based on their training, equipment, response time, and other factors. The distance of your home from the firehall will likely impact discounts from insurers. The FUS considers a structure “protected” within 8 km of a firehall; some insurance companies offer partial protection ratings for structures beyond 8 km if they are within a fire protection area.  For more information about insurance discounts, homeowners are encouraged to speak with their insurance provider, and consider seeking quotes from other providers if you are not receiving any fire protection discount from your current insurer.

MFR has a robust fire and life safety education program which includes a dedicated Fire Prevention Officer, serving the entire fire response area. The program includes firehall tours, school presentations, and education sessions. For more information, or to book a firehall tour, visit: merritt.ca/firerescue/public-ed.

In addition, the TNRD operates a FireSmart program to support and educate all Electoral Area residents to protect their property from wildfire. For more information, visit: tnrd.ca/firesmart.

The new 5-year agreement with the City of Merritt ensures long-term stability in the costs of providing this service.  We acknowledge there has been significant fluctuation in the tax rate related to this service in recent years; this was a result of reconfiguring service area boundaries due to a change in service providers. In addition, costs to provide fire protection services continue to increase as departments adapt to meeting all legislative and safety requirements while ensuring equipment and training are at sufficient levels.

We are pleased to report the tax rate for this service in 2024 has reduced by 16% compared to 2023. The 2024 rate for fire protection service in Electoral Areas “M” & “N” is $48.28 per $100,000 of assessed value. This is in line with the other 15 TNRD fire protection areas, where tax rates range from $40.00 to $150.00 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Merritt Fire Rescue is honored to extend our fire protection services to the residents of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. By partnering with MFR, the regional district benefits from our extensive experience and longstanding commitment to emergency response, dating back to 1907. Our team is dedicated to safeguarding life and property, ensuring rapid and effective responses to emergencies, and minimizing damage, injury, and loss. This collaboration enhances the overall safety and well-being of the residents within these service areas, providing peace of mind and contributing to a secure environment while improving the quality of life. Additionally, many residents will realize savings on fire insurance premiums that outweigh cost of the service."

Merritt Fire Rescue Chief Dave Tomkinson


TNRD Fire Protection Services

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