Before the Fire Authority, a patchwork of fire agencies responded to emergencies in San Diego County's rural backcountry. A variety of volunteer fire companies, independent fire districts and state firefighters responded to structure fires, car accidents and medical emergencies. Firefighter training and response times varied widely. Some areas only had part-time or seasonal fire protection. The lack of a unified system left some communities underserved.
So the Board of Supervisors created the Fire Authority in 2008 to improve fire protection and emergency medical services throughout the backcountry. The Fire Authority blended the independent fire agencies into one unified system of professionally-trained firefighters, under one chief. The Fire Authority now administers year-round, 24-7 professional emergency services to a 1.5 million-acre area of the unincorporated County.