HistoryThe Papatowai Volunteer Fire Brigade formed in 1989. Following Norman Dewe's shed fire, Dean Shute called a community meeting at the Tahakopa Hall to establish a volunteer brigade. At this meeting, Don Jenks was elected the first Fire Chief.
The Department of Conservation had a water pump at the Papatowai camping ground, and this was used as the brigade's initial fire fighting equipment.
Under Clutha District Council authority, the brigade operated as a rural fire fighting unit. In this capacity, the brigade responded to outdoor fires along with operating as first responders to vehicle accidents.
Council operated brigades later merged into Otago Rural Fire, and in 2017, rural and urban fire brigades merged under the entity of Fire Emergency New Zealand. Since the merger, the Papatowai Volunteer Fire Brigade have been trained as medical co-responders. Often the brigade attends more vehicle accidents and medical incidents per year, than they attend fires.