On February 14th, 1950, papers of incorporation were signed forming the Upper Sweetwater Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The District was formed to establish governmental structure for the Upper Sweetwater Valley Volunteer Fire Company that had provided emergence services to the unincorporated Sweetwater Valley Since 1939. Reorganized in September of 1952, the Bonita-Sunnyside Fire Protection District was established.
The population serviced is over 18,000 with a service area reaching out to 7.0 square miles. This includes residential and commercial development in the community of Bonita; County and Regional parklands; and conservation areas overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in collaboration with the Sweetwater Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. The district averages 1,800 calls annually.
Chula Vista Fire Department Medic 38
The district employees 14 full-time employees; 1 Fire Chief, 1 Office manager, 12 Firefighters. The district is governed by an elected 3 person Board of Directors.
Bonita-Sunnyside FPD is a member of the Heartland Communications Authority JPA for dispatch and is a founding member of the Regional Cooperative Care Partnership (RCCP), a consortium of emergency services which provides administrative oversight. The district is also an active participating member of the Heartland Fire Training Authority and South Bay In-Service Training.
In addition to providing service to the community of Bonita, the Bonita-Sunnyside FPD also provides mutual aid to adjacent districts of Chula Vista, San Diego, and National City. Mutual aid includes responses for medical aid, fire suppression, and public assistance. Chula Vista Fire Department, San Diego Fire and Rescue, and National City Fire Department all provide mutual aid responses for Bonita in return, whenever the on-duty Bonita-Sunnyside FPD crew is already on a response. Ambulance response and transport is provided by a partnership with Chula Vista Fire Department.
In addition to providing service locally, Bonita-Sunnyside FPD commits personnel and apparatus to major wildfire incidents across the state of California as part of the San Diego County Central Zone of departments, in conjunction with Cal Fire. Deployments in recent years have included the Tenaja Fire, the Apple Fire, the LNU Complex, the Valley Fire, the Creek Fire, and most recently the Dixie Fire. In 2021 Bonita-Sunnyside FPD was also part of the multi-agency Operation Collaboration, which administered COVID-19 vaccines to the people of San Diego County.
Professional Awards and Recognition
The Bonita-Sunnyside FPD has been recognized since its formation not only for our firefighting efforts, but also for our efforts to prevent injury and loss of life. Examples would include recognition from Poway for the 1967 Poway Fire, Resolution from Assemblyman Larry Stirling for the 1988 Cowles Mountain Fire, Resolution from Assembly woman Tricia Hunter for the 1990 Dubbar Fire, Governor Pete Wilson for the 1992 Guejitio Fire and Congressional recognition from Duncan Hunter for the 2001 Cedar Fire.