San Diego County Fire Authority

THE LAST STAND: JULIAN-CUYAMACA IS ONLY VOLUNTEER FIRE DISTRICT THAT HAS NOT YET JOINED COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

 

Story and photos by Julie Pendray

Photo:  County Fire Authority Chief Tony Mecham addressed about 100 people at a special meeting of Julian/Cuyamaca Fire Protection District on July 27.

Updated with audio to document and clarify board members' comments at an earlier meeting on this issue.

August 9, 2017 (Julian) – Impassioned pleas to save the volunteer fire operation in this historic California gold mining town were rebutted by cold, hard, financial facts at a special public meeting of the Julian/Cuyamaca Fire Protection District.

JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE TO DELIVER NEW FIRE TRUCKS TO COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY, IMPROVE REGIONAL FIRE SAFETY

 

East County News Service

March 18, 2017 (Jamul) -- Leading up to what could be a busy fire season in San Diego County, the Jamul Indian Village will officially hand over the keys and deliver a new $1 million ladder truck and $500,000 pumper truck to the San Diego County Fire Authority on Tuesday.

COUNTY, CAL FIRE LAUNCH PARAMEDIC SERVICE AT INTERMOUNTAIN FIRE STATION

 

July 2, 2015 (Ramona) – The San Diego County Fire Authority and CAL FIRE are making a major upgrade to fire and emergency medical services at the County’s Intermountain fire station. Starting July 1, new, around-the-clock paramedic service will be offered for the first time ever. The station is located east of Ramona along CA-78, a main route to Julian.

RURAL AND PINE VALLEY FIRE DISTRICTS JOIN COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

County News Service

May 14, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Shortly after the release of a grand jury report that commends the County for making significant improvements to rural firefighting by unifying a patchwork of independent agencies, the Board of Supervisors approved a series of administrative steps toward bringing two more rural fire districts under the umbrella of the County Fire Authority.

HOLIDAY AND WINTER HAZARDS

 

Source: County News Service

December 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - The winter months can be more fire hazardous for most households, but the good news is that all of the hazards can be avoided if people are made aware of them and take precautions.

 “It can be a great time of year and you don’t want to see that turn tragic because someone wasn’t diligent,” says Kelly Gaffrey of the San Diego County Fire Authority.

FIRE CHIEFS AND REGIONAL OFFICIALS ASSESS RESPONSE TO MAY FIRES, PREPAREDNESS FOR FUTURE FIRES

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 16, 2014 (San Diego) – In the wake of the May wildfires that resulted in a countywide disaster declaration, Fire Chiefs and elected officials from across the region met on July 31 at the Count Operations Center to assess what went right--and what areas have room for improvement.

WHY ARE SO MANY FIRE STATIONS CLOSED—AND WHAT’S BEING DONE BY COUNTY TO BOOST STAFFING?

 

 

A quarter of all rural stations were closed –at the same time—during April

An East County Magazine special investigative report

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The County Fire Authority has touted its successes in preventing the May wildfires in North County from destroying thousands of homes despite a county-wide disaster declaration.  Granted, a lot has improved since the devastating 2003 and 2007 firestorms in our region--the worst in California's history. But if fires were to start in East County today, the outcome could be tragic. An East County Magazine investigation raises serious doubts over  inadequate volunteer firefighter staffing and the ability to respond even to routine house fires and medical calls in some rural communities.

Last October,  our investigative report,"Closed for Fire Season" revealed that Boulevard’s fire station was closed for two months during fire season and Jacumba’s station also had some dark days- -including one when a resident died of a medical emergency after a delay in emergency services arriving. The County responded by funding emergency staffing and according to Supervisor Jacob’s staff, these two stations remained open every day  for at least several months thereafter, an ECM records check in late April revealed.   

But on July 9, Craig Williams, an information technology provider for the Campo Fire Department, advised ECM that “without any notification to the community leaders."  two days ago Cal Fire “moved the overtime, off-budget, paid Cal Fire firefighters out of Boulevard to Jacumba Hot Springs. Now  Boulevard is stuck with Fire Authority `volunteers’ only, just like Campo.’”

Worse,  a new investigation by ECM reveals that this is the tip of an iceberg--with many stations understaffed and some closed for months. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: FEES PROPOSED TO COVER FULL COSTS OF COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

 

Hot items also on the agendas in Boulevard, Lakeside and Lemon Grove this week

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--San Diego Supervisors meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 3 and 4 at 9 a.m. The hottest item is a public hearing Tuesday on a county proposal to levy fees to recover the actual cost of services provided by the San Diego County Fire Authority including fire plan reviews, inspections and other technical work.  In the past, such services have been provided to individuals and businesses without full cost recovery. 

The Agenda does not state how much the proposed fees would be or how much revenue the county expects to raise.  But coming on the heels of a statewide fire fee that is going up at year’s end,  the proposal is likely to fuel controversy among taxpayers. The item is first on Tuesday’s agenda.  

View December 3 agenda.  View December 4 agenda.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RELEASES MASTER PLAN

 

By Nadin Abbott; photo by Jeff Holtz

 

August 18, 2013 (San Diego)—The San Diego County Fire Authority has released a Master Strategic Plan for the next five years. The plan became effective on July 1, 2013 and will remain such until June 30, 2018. You can read the plan here: http://bosagenda.sdcounty.ca.gov/agendadocs/doc?id=09010e9680174b28.

THE CHAPARRAL REBELLION: BACKCOUNTRY FIRE AGENCIES FIGHTING TO MAINTAIN INDEPENDENCE FROM COUNTY

By David Ross

Part I of several parts

On June 11, I became part of the story of the Chaparral Rebellion when my house on Palomar Mountain partially burned (photo, left).

In the 1980s a group of Western states fought federal intrusion in states rights called themselves the Sagebrush Rebellion. In San Diego County today a group of backcountry fire agencies are fighting to retain their autonomy from the two-headed coin that is the San Diego County Fire Authority and Cal Fire.

You might call this movement the Chaparral Rebellion.

DON'T DELAY PAST MAY: IT'S TIME TO PREPARE FOR WILDFIRES

 

Residents Urged to Clear Defensible Space, Plan for Family Readiness

May 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – California has already seen 1,569 wildfires this year, about 500 more fires compared to the same period last year and 85 percent more fires than in an average year. With the long, hot and dangerous summer a real possibility, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and public safety officials today urged residents to protect their homes against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone.

“Now is the time to prepare for what is shaping up as a tougher-than-usual fire season,” said Supervisor Jacob. “The firestorms of 2003 and 2007 taught us that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it.”

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: WHAT TO DO WHEN A WILDLAND FIRE THREATENS

 

 

May 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – We are currently under severe fire conditions.  Homeowners are advised to do the following if there are reports of wildland fires:

Listen to local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. Follow instructions of local officials regarding the safest escape route. (It may be different than you expect; wildland fires can change direction and speed up suddenly.)

• If you have one, turn on your FRS Radio and set it to your neighborhood’s channel and code. Check in, and continue to monitor for new information. Channel ______ Code _______

If you believe the fire is too close to your location, evacuate immediately. (The fire may be moving too fast for officials to issue evacuation notifications.) Choose a route away from the fire and other potential fire hazards.

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE DISTRICT RESISTS TURNING OVER CONTROL TO COUNTY

By Nadin Abbott; photos by Tom Abbott

March 10, 2013 (Julian)—Why is the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District in financial trouble—and why would the District refuse to join the County Fire Authority? Is there a way for the cash-strapped District to retain its independence and assure a swift response time for residents?

These are important questions. The answers reveal a distrust shared by other rural fire departments that have reported longer response times and other concerns after giving up volunteer firefighters to join the County system.  

TARGET SHOOTING CAUSED 10 FIRES THIS YEAR; CAL FIRE ISSUES SAFETY GUIDELINES

August 15, 2011 (El Cajon)—Cal Fire/San Diego County Fire Authority has experienced a major increase of fires caused by recreational shooting across the County. To date, CAL FIRE/San Diego has had 10 fires caused by target shooting this year, up from only two the prior year.

 

SUPERVISORS TO DECIDE TUESDAY WHETHER TO MERGE 5 FIRE AGENCIES


Hearing Tuesday, January 25 at 9:30 a.m.

January 24, 2011 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors will decide tomorrow whether to merge five fire agencies into the San Diego County Fire Authority. A hearing is set for Tuesday, January 25, at 9:30 in the Board Chamber at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway in downtown San Diego.

 

The County Fire Authority was created in 2008 when the County united a handful of rural fire agencies with a goal of creating a stronger, more efficient agency that will  eventually serve over half of the geographic area in our region, including unincorporated areas throughout San Diego's East County, where the devastating wildfires in 2003 and 2007 began.

FIRES MAR HOLIDAY SEASON FOR FAMILIES IN DESCANSO, LAKESIDE, VALLEY CENTER & LA MESA

December 14, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – Residential fires have caused major damage to homes in Descanso, Lakeside, Valley Center and La Mesa this month. The latest blaze occurred this morning at 4:17 a.m. in a condominium complex at 9320 Earl Street #25 in La Mesa, where fire crews arrived in less than five minutes and ran hose lines inside through thick, dark smoke down to the floor. Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate the fire in the kitchen.