Board of Fire Commissioners

Fire Commissioners

2024 Meeting Dates and Times

The NWFR Board of Commissioners meets on the third Thursday of each month at Station 61, located at 9408 Odell Rd. at 10:30 a.m. All members of the public are welcome to attend. 



The NWFR Board of Fire Commissioners currently consists of five commissioners that meet monthly to discuss the issues of the district. Commissioners are elected to a six-year term and can serve continuously if re-elected.

The 2023 Commissioner Handbook (pdf) is published by the Washington State Fire Commissioner’s Association.


Bruce Ansell


Born in Seattle, Commissioner Ansell has been a native to the Pacific Northwest his entire life.Commissioner Ansell received his Bachelor degree from the University of Washington in 1980 before becoming a Medic One paramedic in 1985. He retired in 2013 after a thirty year long career with the Bellevue Fire Department. Commissioner Ansell also served as a fire commissioner from 1989 -1995 for Duvall King County Fire Department 45. He currently owns and operates his own business, Un-Wind Barrels of Hope where he re-purposes wine barrels into home decor and furniture, with all profits donated to local charities. He is also a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.


John Crawford


Commissioner Crawford is a lifelong Whatcom County resident. He and his wife Cheryl are raising two children, Nicole and Tyler. Commissioner Crawford served in the navy during the Persian Gulf War and was a volunteer firefighter for Whatcom County Fire District 8. He is currently employed with the Port of Bellingham Aviation Division and is a part time bus driver for the Meridian School District. Commissioner Crawford enjoys being involved in the community by coaching both softball and soccer.

Rigberg, Matthew

Matthew Rigberg

The North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners welcomes Matthew Rigberg as the newly appointed Commissioner position #4. He fills a vacancy on the five-member board that had been open since July 2022. The appointment will run through November 2023, when he can run for the six-year term.
Matthew has a twenty-year background in law enforcement, fourteen of which were as a supervisor in Scottsdale, AZ. He was also a small business owner. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Whatcom Community College and works for a large insurance company. Matthew holds a Master’s in business and a Bachelor’s in English and creative writing.
Community involvement is critical to Matthew. As a police officer, he had extensive community involvement. He initiated the Restorative Justice Intervention Program in Scottsdale, a program geared at keeping first-time juvenile offenders out of the criminal justice system.
He is married to his best friend, Inna. They have a son and a daughter. Matthew is committed to both his family and his community.
He believes in service above self and open, honest communication. Matthew is proud to be a commissioner and is excited to serve the needs of the community and fire department.

Scott Fischer

Scott Fischer was born in Bellingham. He has two sisters and one brother. Scott’s family moved to Birch Bay in 1960. He graduated from Blaine High School in 1970.

Following graduation, Scott served our country, joining the United States Air Force (USAF). He was stationed in various places such as Texas, Illinois, Washington State, Italy, Las Vegas, Germany, and back to Las Vegas. He was discharged in 1981. Scott settled in Bellingham, and for the next four years working in the fishing industry.

Ultimately, Scott was hired by the Port of Bellingham as an airport firefighter and retired after thirty-two years of service.


Kimberly Calman-McMurray (Vice-Chair)

The North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners is pleased to welcome Kimberly Calman-McMurray as the newly appointed Commissioner position #5. She fills a vacancy on the five-member board that had been open since July, 2020. The appointment will run through November 2021, at which time an election will be held for the remaining term (Dec. 31, 2023).

Kimberly McMurray grew up in Whatcom County. She attended K-12 and graduated from the Meridian School District. She went on to attend Northwest Nazarene University where she earned her Bachelors degree in Business Administration. After graduation she worked for the Seattle Pacific University Athletic Department.

What do your NWFR Commissioners do?

The five Fire Commissioners of Whatcom County Fire District 21 (dba NWFR) are elected by registered District voters. They serve in individual six-year terms.

District 21 Fire Commissioners serve as the executive branch of the department, which provides fire protection and EMS services to the residents of the district.

As an elected official, a Fire Commissioner’s duties are limited to legislative and executive management of the district as prescribed under state law.

The Board of Fires Commissioners also play a large of responsibility for the following areas:

1. Determining levels of service and establishing goals.

2. Determining type and level of funding, approve budgets, tax levies.

3. Establishing policies and approve operational procedures.

4. Employing key personnel, supervising chief.

5. Guiding strategic planning.

6. Representing District to public.

In addition, the Board is involved in short- and long-range planning to meet the goals and objectives for the protection of the citizens and visitors of the fire district.

Further information regarding Washington State Fire Commissioners can be found at

Additional information regarding the role of a fire commissioner can be found in the Washington State Fire Commissioners Handbook, Chapter 52.14 RCW or by contacting one of the current NWFR Fire Commissioners.

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