Frequently Asked Questions


General Information

Q: What are your business hours?

A: The Fire District offices are open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (excluding major holidays).


Q: Where can I get the Fire Districts fee schedule?

A: Please visit our “Plans and Ordinances” Fee Schedule page.


Q: What forms of payment do you accept?

A: We accept cash, Visa and Master Card. Checks (personal and business) or money orders are also accepted and should be payable to “Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District”.


Q: I am a resident of Rancho Santa Fe and need to find out who my water district is?

A: Please refer to your water bill. We do not have access to that information.


Q: Does the Fire District come out for bee removal?
A: The Fire District does not remove bees unless there is an imminent danger to an individual. For bee removal, refer to your yellow pages under “Bee Removal” and contact a licensed bee keeper that will safely remove the bees. 


Q: How do I dispose of needles and medication? Can I just bring them to the fire station?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot accept these items at our fire stations. Medications can be dropped off your local Sheriff's Department office and needles may be dropped off at EDCO Waste & Recycling Services, 224 S. Las Posas Road, San Marcos, or Escondido Disposal, Inc., 1044 W. Washington, Ave., Escondido.


Fire Prevention


Q: Where is the Fire Prevention Bureau located?

A: The Fire Prevention Bureau is located in the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District Administrative Offices at 18027 Calle Ambiente, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067 (across the street from our Fire Station No. 4, in the Cielo Village Plaza).


Q: Where can I obtain information for the Fire District’s requirements and ordinances for new construction, remodels and landscaping?

A: You may obtain this information by visiting our Ordinances & Standards page. For additional information, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (858) 756-5971.


Q: My building plans are at the county for approval, can I submit my plans to the Fire District simultaneously?

A: No. The Fire Prevention Staff will not review a submittal if San Diego County Planning and Development Services (PDS, formerly known as the Department of Planning and Land Use or DPLU) is in the process of reviewing the same submittal. After PDS has completed the review process and has approved the plans, you may submit then to the Fire District.


Q: Where do I submit my building plans after they have been approved by San Diego County Planning and Development Services and how many sets are required?

A: Two sets of stamped plans are required for fire review. They must be submitted to the Fire Prevention Bureau during our business hours at the Districts Administrative Office. Fees are due upon submittal. Our fee schedule can be viewed on our Fee Schedule page.


Q: What is the typical turnaround time for plan review?

A: The Fire Prevention Staff will make every effort to turnaround most submittals within 10-15 business days.


Q: Can I request expedited service for a plan review?

A: Yes, expedited plan review may be requested. Expedited service is contingent on the Fire Prevention staff availability. Additional plan review fees will be applied. Please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (858) 756-5971 for information.


Q: Can I get an “over- the- counter” plan review?

A: We do not offer over the counter plan review. Plans must be checked in with all applicable fees. Typical turnaround time is 10-15 business days.


Q: I have landscape plans that need to be reviewed and approved by the Fire District, how many sets do I need to include with my submittal?

A: The Fire District will require you to submit two (2) sets of plans; however, some homeowners associations MAY require additional sets to be approved. Please notify the Fire Prevention Bureau if you have any questions regarding this process.


Q: My homeowners association needs me to get a “Preliminary” stamp approval from the Fire District on a project I am starting. How do I get this type of approval?

A: We can set up an appointment for you to meet with one of our staff members to review the “conceptual” or “preliminary” site plan. Some of the typical items that we will be looking for include fire hydrants locations, access, hose pull and building setbacks. There will be a fee of $152.00 for the site plan consultation. Most reviews will take no longer than 1 hour; however, more extensive projects may take longer. Please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (858) 756-5971 to set up an appointment.


Q: How do I schedule an inspection?

A: To schedule an inspection, please contact our Office Support Coordinator-Fire Prevention at (858) 756-5971.


Q: Do I need a permit to install a tent?

A: You may need a permit depending on the size of the tent or canopy. The 2010 California Fire Code requires that any tent having an area greater than 200 square feet or a canopy in excess greater than 400 square feet be permitted by the local Fire Authority. Typically this size tent or canopy is installed by a licensed company specializing in large events. They will be required to fill out the permit application and meet all the requirements in the Fire Code. You do not need a permit to install a personal pop-up tent. If you have any questions or need clarification on this subject, please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (858)756-5971.


Q: Where do I get a tent permit? Can it be mailed or faxed?

A: You can pick up the application for a permit at the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Administrative office or we will mail it to you. We do not fax or email this application as it is in duplicate form and must be the original.


Q:  Is there a charge for a tent permit?

A: Yes, the fee is $216.00.


Q: How do I go about getting a Knox application? Can I get it faxed?

A: The application can be picked up at the Fire Districts Administrative Office or mailed directly to the applicant. Applications sent via fax are not acceptable. The form must be completed and sent directly to the Knox Company by the applicant. Once the Knox device (switch or vault) is installed, please call the Fire Prevention Bureau at (858) 756-5971 to schedule an inspection to ensure that the switch or vaults are operable.


Q: When does fire season begin?

A: Wildfires can occur in our region at any time of year. We typically experience more wildfire activity around the months of July through October when the weather is hotter and drier. In Southern California, severe wildfire seasons can continue into December with the arrival of the hot Santa Ana winds in October.


Q: What time of year does the Fire District send out weed abatement letters?

A: The District’s Weed Abatement Program reflects the fire code regulations as stated in the California Health & Safety Code and the Fire District’s Ordinance 2004-02. The Weed Abatement Program notifications and public notices are posted and mailed in spring to all owners of parcels within the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District. The notice is a “general” notification that is mailed out during April to inform all property owners that their parcels must be in compliance with the Fire District ordinance no later than the end of May. These notices also provide property owners with helpful information that will assist them in reducing the fire risk around their homes and property. Following the May deadline, the Fire District’s Weed Abatement Officers will begin notifying those property owners who are non-compliant and may issue a “Notice to Abate a Fire Hazard.” For more information, please contact the District’s Fire Prevention Specialist II/Forester at (858) 756-6006.


Q: Who do I talk to about the Shelter-in-Place communities?

A: Shelter-in-Place communities are unique in that they are designed and engineered with fire resistant features integrated into the construction of homes, landscaping and community. For more information regarding the District “Shelter-in-place” community requirements, please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (858)756-5971 or visit our Shelter-in-Place page. You can also request a representative from the Fire District to meet with your homeowner’s association who can provide facts and information regarding these communities.


Public Education


Q: Do you offer station tours?

A: Yes. Station tours are offered by the Fire District free of charge to residents and visitors to the community. There are 4 fire stations located within the community and tours are available at each facility. All tours are contingent on each station’s schedule of daily activities. Please contact our Public Education Coordinator at (858) 756-6008 to schedule a tour.


Q: How can I schedule a fire truck or fire fighter for a special event?

A: The Fire District will occasionally receive requests by residents or groups to have a fire engine present at one of their events. All requests should be made well in advanced of the event and scheduling is often dependent on availability and department activities scheduled for each station. To schedule a fire engine for your event, please contact our Public Education Coordinator at (858) 756-6008.


Q: Does the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District offer CPR classes?

A: At this time, we do not offer CPR classes for certification. Groups or individuals looking to receive certification may wish to check with the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or their local hospitals for upcoming classes in their area. Groups interested in “Hands Only” CPR training can contact our Public Education Coordinator at (858) 756-6008 to arrange a demonstration. The American Heart Association website also provides a self-learning tool for “Hands-only CPR”.


Q: Do you install child car seats?

A: We do offer a car seat safety program which includes a car seat inspection and installation. For times and dates or call (858) 756-5971. Additional information can be found on our Child Safety Seat page.


Emergency Response


Q: I am a resident of Rancho Santa Fe and was recently transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Will I get a bill for this service?

A: Yes. All transported patients within the County Service Area (CSA) 17, which includes Solana Beach, Del Mar, Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe, are now receiving a bill. If you are a resident of the CSA, the fee is approximately $400 plus a $20 per mile that the patient is transported to the hospital. The bill is issued by the county of San Diego and under the name San Dieguito Ambulance District.


Q: I am NOT a resident of Rancho Santa Fe and was recently transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Will I get a bill for this service?

A: Yes. All transported patients will be billed. The transportation fee for non-residents is approximately $1100. The bill is issued by the County of San Diego and under the name San Dieguito Ambulance District.


Becoming a Firefighter


Q: What is the process of becoming a fire fighter?

A: We accept candidates and invite them to test through the Palomar College Firefighter Assessment exam which includes a physical agility exam and a written exam. In order to be qualified to apply for a position with the Fire District, you must possess a valid state and county paramedic license and must either be a graduate of a state certified fire academy or possess a CSFM Firefighter I certification. Many regional fire departments require similar certifications. Some military and forest service agencies such as Cal-Fire and US Forest service may only require California State EMT certifications. Many of the courses necessary for pursuing a fire service career can also be taken at some local community colleges throughout the county. Another resource available which provides information on fire service careers is This website has contains a list of available jobs in San Diego County along with other helpful information.


Q: How do I schedule a ride-along?

A: The best way to schedule a ride-along is to contact a Duty Captain at the station at which you would like to ride along. Please understand that ride-along appointments are contingent on the station personnel’s schedule and availability. In order to participate in this program you must be either an EMT, Paramedic, Fire Academy student or involved in a school district related program. You will be required to dress professionally in dark pants, boots and a blue navy shirt. Anyone who participates in our ride-along program must wear appropriate clothing or they will not be allowed to ride along. You will also need to complete and sign a hold harmless form and a HIPAA (confidentiality) release form prior to your ride-along. These forms are a requirement for participation in the District’s ride-along program.