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Friday, May 10, 2013

Valley Center Fire Protection District Drops CAL FIRE Contract, Contracts With San Pasqual Tribal Fire Dept.

VC Fire drops Cal Fire for one station, picks up San Pasqual Tribal Fire

May 09, 2013
Thursday morning Valley Center Fire Protection District announced a new relationship with the San Pasqual Tribal Fire Dept. that will give the tribal department staffing responsibility for Station 72 on N. Lake Wohfford Road, replacing Cal Fire, which has contracted with the district since 1983.

This new contract will be voted on at the Thursday, May 16 fire board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at the water district board room, 9300 Valley Center Rd.

The new arrangement will save the district several hundred thousand dollars. According to a statement issued by the district, "During the course of the preparation of the Budget for FY 2014 we received Cal Fire's new contract and upon review of the increased cost it became abundantly clear to the Board of Directors that the District could no longer keep the current Cal Fire staffing pattern that had existed for many years. The Board was faced with the situation where we would need to substantially reduce staffing in order to both avoid deficit spending and erosion of the District's reserve funds."

District board Pres. Weaver Simonsen, board treasurer Phil Bell and District Administrator John Byrne along with officials of the San Pasqual Tribe, including Chairman Allen Lawson and tribal fire chief Harold L. Rodriguez, held a press briefing at Station 72, which will now be staffed by two firefighters from San Pasqual as well as two Valley Center reserve firefighters.

According to Simonsen the issue was whether the district would go under financially, and cease to function as a fire district, or to continue forward. If the district had gone forward with the contract that Cal Fire was proposing, it would be $70,000 in the black this year, he said. Going forward with the tribal fire department will mean that the district will be $200,000 in the black for this year.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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