Brought to you by the Greenwood Civic Club and Greenwood Community Center

Elk, California, where the forests and meadows meet the sea

The place we call home

Community Services & Organizations


Elk Volunteer Fire Department


Contact Information
Elk Volunteer Fire Department
PO Box 151
Elk, CA 95432
(707) 877-3350 (Firehouse)
(707) 877-3306 (Chief Bob Matson)




In the 1920s, the town of Greenwood relied on the L.E. White Lumber Company’s water and hydrant systems for fire protection.  Fire hydrants were fed by a steam pump at the sawmill located on what is now the Greenwood State Beach.

In 1953, Warren Daniels and John Ross, Jr. constructed a sawmill on Highway 1 across from the Elk Garage.  For additional fire protection, “push carts” with rolled hoses were maintained around the site.

Early one evening in 1956, the Greenwood Hotel, with 53 rooms, caught fire and burned to the ground, along with the L.E. White Company Store.  Fire equipment from all over Mendocino County responded to this disaster.

As a result of the hotel fire, the current Elk Volunteer Fire Department (EVFD) was formed that year.  Joseph Conway was installed as the first Chief.  The Daniels and Ross Mill purchased a 1939 open-cab pumper from the city of Orinda, housing it in a building on the mill site.

Curtis Berry and Bob Ryan succeeded Joseph Conway as Chief of the EVFD into the mid-1960’s when the Daniels and Ross Mill closed in 1965.

In 1966, the EVFD reorganized, with R.D. Beacon becoming its next Chief.  R.D. added several pieces of equipment and the department began fundraising for a firehouse.  At that time, the department was affiliated with the Elk County Water District, but there was no tax base to support a firehouse.  Funds were raised primarily through dinners and the collection of fees from abalone fishing on private property.

The department reorganized again in 1971 and Hank Worthington was elected Chief.  Flora Buchanan and Walter Matson actively pursued the acquisition of the present-day site of the firehouse and the original structure (now the hall and kitchen) was built.

Dan Firpo served as Chief briefly in the late 1970s until Bob Matson began a 23-year “career” in the post.  During Bob’s tenure, more apparatus was built or acquired, the firehouse was enlarged, and the department took over the ambulance service.  A 911 emergency dispatch center was installed in Mendocino County.  And in 1990, the Elk Community Services District was formed to provide a reliable tax-based source of funding for the EVFD and expansion of services to the Cameron and Greenwood Road areas.

Charlie Acker followed Bob Matson as Chief in the mid 1990’s.  Jeff Roy was elected in 2002 and Craig Mitchell in 2017.  Current-day Chief is once again Bob Matson.

The department celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006 by erecting a new sign and dedicating the firehouse to two former firefighters who led EVFD’s expansion efforts in the earlier years – Lee “Mac” McKnight and the late Dave Skilton.


Current Department

The department has 13 firefighters, 3 of whom are Emergency Medical Technicians:

  • Bob Matson, EMT, Chief
  • Bob Askew, EMT, 1st Asst. Chief
  • Jay Penrod, 2nd Asst. Chief
  • Tony Cook, Captain
  • Ruben Martinez, Captain
  • Tamera Beale, EMT
  • Harold Searles
  • Judy Bonney
  • Ron Karish
  • Curtis Koval
  • Jesse Russell
  • Max Korbus
  • Charlie Acker

Currently in training:

  • Cliff Hammond
  • Crescent Tarbell
  • Andy Taylor

Equipment includes 3 wildland engines, 2 pumping tankers, one rescue truck, one Type 1 city-style engine, and one ambulance at 3 stations located throughout a 55-square-mile district.

Volunteers are always needed.  Anyone wishing to join is welcome to attend trainings on the first and third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the Firehouse at the Greenwood Community Center located at 6129 S Highway 1.


Annual Summer BBQ

The EVFD holds an annual Summer BBQ in July at the Greenwood Community Center.  It includes a no-host bar and famous margaritas, raffle, live music, and activities for kids.  Funds raised help maintain fire equipment and department operations.

This year's BBQ will be held July 27, 2019, noon - 4:00 p.m.