Yakima has a new fire chief and he's from the Yakima Fire Department. The city has officially named Aaron Markham the new chief. Markham will start his new job on June 1. He'll soon move from his office where he served as a deputy fire chief for the Yakima Fire Department. In a news release from the city Yakima City Manager Cliff Moore says “Aaron has many years of experience in the fire service in a variety of roles. During the intensive interview process, he distinguished himself with his comprehensive understanding and appreciation of administering a fire department and the complexities of providing a wide range of emergency response capabilities.  I’m confident our community will be well served by Aaron as Yakima Fire Chief."

The release from the city says Markham, who was born in Toppenish and raised in Yakima, succeeds Bob Stewart who retired in February.

Markham joined the Sunnyside Fire Department in 1991 as a firefighter/EMT.  In 2001, he was promoted to battalion chief/fire marshal for the Sunnyside Fire Department.  Markham served as interim fire chief for the Sunnyside Fire Department in 2004 before being given the permanent fire chief job in 2005.  In March of this year, Markham was hired as a deputy fire chief for the Yakima Fire Department.

Markham earned a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration from Eastern Oregon University and in 2017 earned Executive Fire Officer Certification from the National Fire Academy.  He has served as president of the Yakima County Fire Chief’s Association and currently is a board member of the Washington State Fire Chief’s Association.

As Yakima Fire Chief, Markham will oversee a department with 137 total staff members.  The department’s 2018 budget is about $19 million.

Markham was chosen from a finalist pool that also included current Indian River State College (Fort Pierce, Florida) Adjunct EMS Instructor Daniel Harshburger, current Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Richard Elliot, and current Yakima Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Reid.