A new division chief has been hired by Okanogan County Fire District 6, the district announced this week.

Russell “Rusty” Stamps, a 27-year fire service veteran, joined the district earlier this month. Stamps was assistant fire chief for Chelan County Fire District 7 before coming to the Methow Valley.

Stamps graduated from Spokane Community College’s Fire Science Technology program in 1987 and became a volunteer firefighter in Chelan, working his way up to assistant chief in 2010.

“Rusty has been a volunteer and full-time firefighter, which is a good fit for our district,” said Assistant Chief Cody Acord. “His background in wildland firefighting is a huge benefit to our firefighters and community.”

Stamps’ primary responsibility will be training for approximately 40 volunteer firefighters for the district. More than 90 percent of the fire district’s emergency responders are volunteers.

In 2013, volunteer firefighters with the district logged 1,716 hours responding to emergencies and another 3,002 hours in training.

District 6 had been looking for a division chief since early last year to provide adequate staffing levels for the fire district if someone is out sick, on vacation or attending a mandatory training/meeting, the district announcement said.