County Fire Authority

IN THE WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE WORKSHOP IN CAMPO SEPT. 7

East County News Service

 

September 4, 2019 (Campo) – The Fire Safe Council of San Diego, Cal Fire and the County Fire Authority invite you to learn principles firefighters use to protect your home and community at the Wildland Urban Interface Workshop on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Registration, networking and refreshments will begin at 7:30 with the course at 8 a.m. at the Mountain Health Community Center, 976 Sheridan Rd., Campo.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS: JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE CHIEF, PARAMEDIC AND FIRE SURVIVOR SPEAK OUT TO SAVE THEIR FIRE DEPARTMENT

 

"Since the inception of the San Diego County Fire Department in 2008, this county has lost over 400 volunteer firefighters, boots on the ground that were guarding their homefront...That's sad." -- JCFPD Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber

“Ranchita in the month of June this year was covered six days. That’s all.” – Karen Kiefer, JCFPD firefighter-paramedic, on services after the County Fire Authority began its takeover of the volunteer department  June 1st.

"They came and found us...it was dark, the embers were everywhere...the roof was on fire," Lori Foss says of JCFPD volunteer firefighters who saved her life and her home during the 2007 Witch Fire

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District firefighter-paramedic Karen Kiefer and Chief Mike Van Bibber

 

October 11, 2018 (Julian) – The battle to save the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District, the last volunteer fire district in San Diego County, has reached a heated pitch. Residents are gathering signatures seeking to block the takeover by the County Fire Authority approved by the Local Agency Formation Commission in September, before an October 16th public protest meeting with LAFCO.

On our radio show on KNSJ, East County Magazine interviewed the JCFPD battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber, along with firefighter-paramedic and former emergency medical services director Karen Kiefer, a well as Lori Foss, who lost her home in the 2003 Cedar Fire and had her home and family saved in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire by Julian’s volunteer firefighters. They believe that the takeover will leave Julian and surrounding areas less safe due to longer response times by engines coming from farther away, with no “home team” to respond quickly to medical emergencies, car accidents or structure fires.  Click the audio link to hear the full interview, or scroll down to read highlights.

Audio: 

Interview with JCFPD Chief Mike Van Bibber, firefighter-paramedic Karen Kiefer and fire survivor Lori Foss

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY GETS CHILLY JULIAN RECEPTION

 

By Ken Stone, originally published at Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

June 18, 2018 (Julian) - Julian residents Lori Foss and Patricia Van Natta stood quietly in a heating-up helicopter hangar Thursday, watching their East County supervisor and Cal Fire chief boast of backcountry fire readiness.

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE BOARD VOTES TO NEGOTIATE WITH COUNTY

 

Story and photos by A.J. Herrington

February 13, 2018 (Julian) -- The Board of Directors of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) has voted 3-2 to negotiate fire protection standards for the community with the County of San Diego, if the County takes over that responsibility from the district. Many of the area residents who attended the crowded meeting at Fire Station 56 on Highway 79 today believe it’s the beginning of the end for the last volunteer fire department in the county.

JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE PRESENTS $2.6 MILLION TO COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

 

By Jonathan Goetz

September 7, 2017 (Jamul) - Members of the Jamul Indian Village tribal government presented $2,677,500 to the San Diego County Fire Authority Tuesday at the fire station across the street from Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego. This is on top of a recent $1.1 million contribution toward road and traffic improvements.

STANDING ROOM ONLY AT RURAL FIRE BOARD MEETING: VOTE TO DISSOLVE DISTRICT WILL BE TAKEN AT NEXT SESSION MARCH 4

 

By Nadin Abbott

February 5, 2014 (Jamul)—It was standing room only as Director Baldwin called the Rural Fire Protection District meeting to order in Jamul. In question was whether the Rural Fire District should dissolve and join the County Fire Authority. In phase three of the takeover, the County aims to absorb both the Pine Valley Fire District and the Rural Fire Protection District.

If the Rural District dissolves, the money that the County now puts into the District, to the tune of $3.6 million will continue. If the district does not dissolve, those funds will go away, and the district will only have the $1.6 million that it collects from residents. In effect, if the Fire District does not dissolve, it will have to reduce service and will only be able to staff the Jamul and Otay Stations, Director Dale Amato warned. The rest of the stations will have to go dark, or rely on volunteers—and there will be a significant degradation of fire protection service.

CLOSED FOR FIRE SEASON? DEATH IN DE ANZA, CLOSED FIRE STATIONS INFLAME RURAL RESIDENTS

 

 

 

ECM Special Report reveals  rural fire stations shut down for weeks, seriously under-staffed in peak fire season

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

October 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – An East County Magazine special investigation raises some burning issues and reveals that lives are at risk in rural East County areas.

Since the Cedar Fire a decade ago, our County has promised to improve fire protection by consolidating rural fire agencies into a County Fire Authority. But our report exposes glaring deficiencies--and asks some critical questions:

  • Could a man who died at De Anza Resort in Jacumba Hot Springs have been saved if the two closest fire stations had not been closed, dramatically delaying emergency response time?
  • Why was Boulevard’s fire station shut down for 28 days in August, 30 days in September, and at least the first seven days in October – during peak fire season? 
  • Why were both Boulevard and Jacumba Hot Springs fire stations unmanned on September 30, when a man found unconscious died after medical help took an hour or more to arrive, according to eyewitness accounts?
  • Why haven’t funds promised by SDG&E  to mitigate dangers from new energy projects been spent in the communities most  at risk?
  • Why, even when stations were open, were  there only two-man crews which firefighting professionals say is inadequate for structure protection or rescues from a burning building?
  • How many other stations across East County may be similarly short-staffed or closed?

Our investigation raises grave concerns about public safety, but so far, officials have not provided any satisfactory answers.

READERS EDITORIAL: SOUNDING THE ALARM AS COUNTY BREAKS PROMISES FOR FIRE PROTECTION IN RURAL EAST COUNTY

 

By Howard W Cook, Jacumba Hot Springs Sponsor Group Chair

September 30, 2013 (Jacumba) -- When the Jacumba Hot Springs Community showed up to attend The Real East County Fire Safe Council(Ken Daubach, President) tonight 09/30/2013 at the Jacumba Hot Springs Fire station, the station was completely dark. Shutdown as it has been frequently in the past month. Likewise, Boulevard Fire Station was also dark tonight as it has been for most of the past several months.

Yet, in the EIR's for all of the recent electrical projects, Eco at Jacumba and the Boulevard substation as well as the Tule wind farm project the Fire Dept. establishment promised 24/7 coverage.

East County doesn't know who in the Fire establishment they can trust.

We had an medical emergency today out at De Anza Resort(probably a fatality). Eventually the station at White Star responded after an hour.

FUTURE OF RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT ON THE LINE: MEETING WED. AUGUST 14

An important meeting is set for Wednesday night, August 14 on the future of fire service in the Rural Fire Protection district, which serves many communities in East County. 

 The County Fire Authority is threatening to withdraw all fire service funding if the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District chooses to remain an independent fire district and not merge with the County Fire Authority.

If the district remains independent, funding will revert back to 207 levels—with no stipend pay for firefighters for rural stations, according to a letter sent by the district’s fire board to residents. SD Rural Fire_important-letter .

PALOMAR ‘S VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT FIGHTS BACK AS COUNTY PUSHES FOR TAKEOVER

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 16, 2013 (Palomar) –Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department has hired an attorney in an effort to stave off strong-arm efforts by the County, which seeks to force the tiny department to join the County Fire Authority or lose funds.  Joining would mean handing over control to Cal-Fire, which runs rural stations under the CFA.

“Our closest mutual aid is 45 minutes down the hill,” Chief George Lucia said at a packed public meeting in late May, the U-T San Diego reported. “They’re telling me  I can’t hire local community volunteers. I say to them that without my local community volunteers that live here, sleep here and have a stakeholder’s interest in the community, I can’t guarantee that I can cover a call.”

COUNTY SEEKS TO DISSOLVE RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos Tom Abbott

May 8, 2013 (Jamul)—As part of the County’s efforts to consolidate rural fire departments, the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District was asked last night whether “it will continue to operate as an independent fire district or dissolve and become part of the  new County Fire Authority (CFA).”

The County has given the District until June 30th to sign on a one-year contract that would extend the current contract with Cal-Fire, but ultimately would lead to the dissolution of the district under the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO.)

The pending decision has sparked concerns among residents in the District, which is a high fire risk area that has seen some of the worst wildfires in our region. It is also the area where major new energy projects are proposed which would increase the risk of fire.

JULIAN FACES BURNING ISSUE: POTENTIAL LOSS OF VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2013 (Julian) – Julian’s all-volunteer fire department, faced with a budget crunch, is weighing a proposal to turn over firefighting responsibilities to the County Fire Authority. But some residents are voicing fears that they could wind up burned.

Dozens of firefighters and property owners packed into the Julian Town Hall Thursday night.  Many expressed concerns that out-of-town firefighters would not be familiar with rural areas and  may not find homes in a firestorm.  Relying on firefighters far away would also mean longer response times to fight fires in this historic mountain community.