Many can remember recent San Diego wildfire disasters, including the Cedar, Witch, Cocos, Guejito and Lilac fires which devastated so much of this region. North County Fire Protection District, Valley Center Fire Protection District, and the Rincon Fire Department all serve communities with designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones.
There is a clear need to support our rural fire agencies. This year, in light of the state’s $38 billion budget surplus, I made three funding requests from the Assembly Budget Committee. Though questions have arisen involving funding for statewide fire suppression, I’m very happy to report my efforts to obtain local funding were successful.
The North County Fire Protection District recently took over a former volunteer fire station in Rainbow serving hard-to-reach areas, and additional funding became necessary. The station is being converted to full-time staffing and modular living quarters for the staff must be provided. The building also has significant deferred maintenance, and is in desperate need of an upgrade.
Valley Center Fire Protection District has seen significant call volume increases in recent years, and a third fire station in an underserved area has become necessary. The District also must upgrade existing facilities, and is in need of a new Brush Fire Engine.
The Rincon Fire Department needs to replace an outdated fire apparatus. The current apparatus is over 12 years old and is frequently out-of-service. Last year the vehicle was unavailable three times when Rincon Fire was called to assist with large fire emergencies in Northern California. The Department’s existing radios are not compatible with new communications technology, and upgraded PPE is sorely needed. .
Happily, my funding request was approved for $2,660,000 so these three rural districts, which do so much to safeguard our homes, our communities and our very lives can continue their vital, life-saving mission.