Out of the five North West Brigades, three came into existence on 1st April 1974.  Cumbria is one of the three.

The origins of this brigade came predominantly from the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, which were taken over more or less in their entirety.   Additionally, 1 station (Sedbergh) passed from the former West Riding of Yorkshire and no fewer than 5 stations came into the area from Lancashire County Fire Brigade as well as those from the County Boroughs of Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle.   Indeed it was not possible to drive into the northern most parts of Lancashire, without passing through the County of Westmorland, the county boundary actually running across Morecambe Bay.  Many of the stations acquired were quite modern, and since 1974, the only new fire station to open is that at Barrow-in-Furness, opened in the late 1990's.

Covering the whole of the Lake District, the Cumbrian Mountains and the northern Pennines, Cumbria is predominantly a rural brigade, and its appliances reflect this.  However, with ship building and docklands in the Barrow area, plus other industries around Workington, Whitehaven, and Carlisle, this brigade, like the other north-west brigades, has its high risks and experiences its share of major incidents.   The M6 motorway runs through the entire county, and this major trunk route, coupled with the vast number of tourists who visit the area each year, means that the brigade has a fair proportion of vehicle fires and road traffic collisions to deal with.

At present there are 5 stations which are manned wholetime - Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven, Barrow and Kendal.  The remaining 33 are retained stations.

Cumbria Fire Service is divided into three territorial areas:

Allerdale and Copeland Area covering West Cumbria
Barrow and South Lakeland Area covering South Cumbria
Carlisle and Eden Area covering North & East Cumbria