SAN DIEGO–A budget change letter was submitted to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Monday requesting $5 million to implement recommendations of the San Diego County Regional Fire Deployment Study. The study offered solutions to improve regional fire services.
The budget change letter, submitted by Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price and Vice Chairman Bill Horn, would direct the Chief Administrative Officer to determine the most appropriate use of the funds to improve fire protection based on the Citygate Associates report commissioned by the Supervisors on April 7, 2009. The $5 million in funds would come from the recently cut Neighborhood Reinvestment Program budget.
Currently, the San Diego County Fire Authority spends $15.5 million annually to protect 1.5 million acres in the unincorporated areas. Funds to pay for fire study recommendations are not included.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider the change letter on Tuesday, June 29 at 2 p.m. at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 310 in San Diego.
San Diego County’s last major wildfire began in October 2007. The fires destroyed roughly 1,500 homes, burned 500,000 acres and resulted in 9 fire-related fatalities.
“Catastrophic wildfires won’t wait for us to implement the important suggestions from the fire deployment study,” Chairwoman Slater-Price said. “We must act now. Fire protection for San Diego County isn’t a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity.”
Vice Chairman Horn also assessed the region’s fire protection needs, saying: “Sunday’s fire near Lake Wohlford was just the beginning of what I suspect will be a fire prone year. The presence of new flash fuels from this winter’s rainfall makes it critically important to provide additional firefighting resources.”
San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting information: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/cob/bosa/index.html.