Press Releases

Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians Enters Joint Powers Agreement with Heartland Fire Training Authority


JPA is one of first in California involving Native American tribe

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and the Heartland Fire Training Authority announced today that they have entered into a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) -- one of the first JPAs involving a Native American tribe in California.

(TV Stations: click here for Broll from today’s announcement and firefighting demonstration:

Under terms of the JPA, Viejas will have full member status, including access to the Heartland Fire Training Facility and voting rights over operational and budget matters involving the existing training facility in El Cajon and an additional training facility under construction in Rancho San Diego.

Previously, tribes were not allowed to enter into JPAs in California. That changed when AB 307 was passed into law and took effect January 1, 2012, permitting federally-recognized Indian tribes to be considered a public agency that may enter into a joint powers agreement.

“This JPA finally allows Viejas to have a seat at the table and have a full and meaningful partnership with other area fire agencies that we’ve worked with for years in a very productive way,” said Viejas Fire Chief Don Butz. “Ultimately, this benefits the entire region, since wildfires and other natural disasters do not recognize geographic, political or other borders. We are all stronger and better protected when we work and train together.”

Heartland Fire Training Authority Chairman Dave Allan said, “It’s a pleasure to see the Tribal Nations having the ability to partner with local fire agencies, it’s been a long time in coming. Viejas has been a vital player in emergency services providing assistance to the people of San Diego County for many years. The Heartland Fire Training Authority welcomes the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and it is an honor to have them as a member of a Training Authority which is second to none.”

Other members of Heartland Fire Training Facility include the cities of Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove; San Diego County; and the Fire Districts of San Miguel, Alpine, Lakeside and Bonita-Sunnyside.

About The Heartland Fire Training Facility

Just east of the City of San Diego, the Thomas H. Owen Heartland Fire Training Facility exists for the purpose of providing ongoing training for local fire departments.

The facility is funded and operated by a Joint Powers Authority, which includes the cities of Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove; San Diego County; and the Fire Districts of San Miguel, Alpine, Lakeside and Bonita-Sunnyside and the Viejas Tribal Fire Department.

Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians is a sovereign Nation whose people have inhabited Southern California and northern Mexico for thousands of years.

The 1,600 acre Viejas Indian Reservation is located near Alpine, California, approximately 35 miles east of San Diego.

The Viejas Tribal Fire Department consists of 21 professionally-trained personnel. In addition to protecting the Viejas Reservation, Casino and Outlets, the Viejas Tribal Fire Department also responds to all structural fire and paramedic calls in the community of Alpine and surrounding areas.

For more information, visit

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Viejas Tribal Government
Robert Scheid, 619-922-9736
Heartland Fire Training Facility
Dave Miller, 619-441-1683

Source: Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians