SAN DIEGO–The San Diego County Board of Supervisors were joined by 16 mayors from throughout San Diego County in support of a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to increase firefighting resources through an executive order for the upcoming fire season.
Spearheaded by Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price and Vice Chairman Bill Horn, the regional fire coalition support letter outlines critical reasons additional firefighting resources must be secured for San Diego County. The letter specifies potential local impacts of state budget reductions on the regional mutual aid system, aerial firefighting staff, and the expected abundance of dry brush in the backcountry.
If initiated, the governor’s executive order could bring in $5 million to $6 million more in funding for regional fire protection on top of the $26 million already allocated to CAL FIRE San Diego and the County’s CAL FIRE contracts. Previous executive orders from the governor have allowed CAL FIRE to fully staff each of the 26 state fire engines in San Diego County.
“The next major wildfire won’t wait until the state fully funds our regional fire needs,” Chairwoman Slater-Price said. “I thank my fellow elected leaders in calling on Governor Schwarzenegger to fund these critical resources to protect our residents and lands. Times are tough and hitting every government in the pocket book, but fire protection for San Diego County isn’t a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity.”
Vice Chairman Horn joined in the effort. His district covers large swaths of unincorporated land, where wildfires typically begin.
“It’s impossible to expect the state to have a handle on our wildfire protection when its hands are being tied by the legislature,” Vice Chairman Horn said. “I hope the governor will sign the executive order and give Cal Fire San Diego the tools it needs to be ready for peak fire season.”