Formation and Funding

Skyline Fire Rescue was established in 1959 to provide fire protection to the Skyline subdivision, the first of its kind in Santa Rosa County. Initially equipped with a single open-cab truck, the department relied on donations and fundraisers for funding. However, this approach proved insufficient for acquiring adequate equipment.

As the Skyline Fire District's response area expanded beyond the subdivision due to increasing fire protection needs in surrounding areas, it ultimately covered approximately fifty-five square miles.

Recognizing the need for sustainable funding, in 1979, the Skyline Fire District became an independent entity with the approval of the Florida Legislature. This transition allowed for the collection of a fire tax, added to property taxes, to fund the district. A five-member Board of Directors, elected by district property owners and residents, was established to oversee this. The initial tax rate was set at fifteen dollars per residence, with businesses paying a slightly higher fee, ensuring no residence would pay more than nineteen dollars and fifty cents annually.

By 1995, the maximum tax rate proved inadequate for maintaining service levels. With help from State Representative Joe Scarborough, Skyline transitioned to county funding under the Mutual Services Benefit Unit (MSBU), which allowed for a tax increase to better support department operations. This increase, further adjusted in 1998 and 2007, addressed the rising costs of equipment and maintaining service levels, with residential and business rates adjusted accordingly.

Fire Department Structure

The Board of Directors controls all financial aspects, while the Fire Chief oversees operations, including responses, equipment, and personnel.


Primarily staffed by community volunteers, Skyline has faced challenges with daytime personnel availability. To address this, a full-time Fire Chief was hired in 2006, followed by two full-time firefighters and a stipend for certified volunteers in 2007 to ensure daytime response capabilities. This move aimed to augment, not replace, the invaluable service of volunteers.

Fire Stations

From its modest beginnings in 1959, Skyline has expanded to four stations strategically located to enhance response times and lower insurance rates for the community.


Skyline's equipment evolution began with refurbished trucks and saw significant upgrades over the years, including the acquisition of state-of-the-art firefighting apparatus, boats for flood evacuation, and specialized rescue equipment. Investments in safety and response capabilities have included grants for station generators, air compressors, and advanced training tools.


Training has evolved from basic courses to comprehensive firefighting, medical, and specialized response training. Skyline prioritizes ongoing education and has developed its own training facilities to support firefighter certification and advanced skills development.

Future Plans and Goals

Skyline aims to enhance community protection and education, improve training for personnel, and expand facilities and equipment, including acquiring a ladder truck and hiring additional full-time firefighters to ensure comprehensive coverage.