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Meet Our Chief 

Chief Joe Barden has been a member of our department since 2010.   He took on the chief's position in 2021 and has proudly served in that position since then.  During the day, Joe serves as a supervisor for  Waupaca County.  Joe always dreamed of being a firefighter since he was a kid and now enjoys the camaraderie he shares with his fellow firefighters and EMTs.  He enjoys giving back to the community and loves training and working with some of the best people he knows.

About Us...

The Iola & Rural Fire Department and Ambulance Service is a paid-on-call department composed of approximately 50 firefighters and EMTs.  Between our fire and EMS coverage areas, we are responsible for protecting an area over 250 square miles in Waupaca and Portage counties (Wisconsin).  The fact that our ambulance service is part of our fire department is unique for a department our size.  This allows us to provide a combined fire/resuce and medical response to any emergency situation with a high level of efficiency.  Our members are focused and well trained and take pride in serving our community and surrounding areas.

Read About our Department

In the July/August 2023 edition of the Wisconsin Fire Journal, the Iola and Rural Fire Department and Ambulance Service was featured as their department profile.  The journal did an excellent job  showcasing our department and the community we serve.   Click on the links below to access these articles, courtesy of the Wisconsin Fire Journal. 

Fire History Article

Click on this imabe to read about the R.I. Anderson Machine Shop Exhibit in Iola

Main Article:  Department Profile IFD

Click on this image to access the main article about our department written in this issue


Click on this image to read the testimonial given by a fire and ambulance board chairman Dave Harper

Our Districts

The Iola and Rural Fire Department and Ambulance Service covers an area over 250 square miles in both Waupaca and Portage counties (Wisconsin).  Our fire district consist of 5 townships or villages while our ambulance district consists of 7 townships or villages (see the breakdown below).  We are also part of MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) Wisconsin Division 142 which is used to activate our department to respond to communities outside of our own district.

The villages and townships we serve include:


  • Village of Iola

  • Town of Iola

  • Town of Harrison

  • Town of Helvetia

  • Town of New Hope


  • Village of Iola

  • Town of Iola

  • Village of Scandinavia

  • Town of Scandinavia

  • Town of Harrison

  • Town of Helvetia

  • Town of St. Lawrence

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