Battle to save the county's last volunteer fire district now hinges on a protest process that could give voters the final say
By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
Miriam Raftery, Editor, also contributed to this report.
Photo: Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber, Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District
September 11, 2018 (Julian) -- A group of Julian area residents fighting fire axes-and-hoses against a county takeover of fire and medical first responder services won a firm victory last Thursday in Superior Court. Judge Timothy Taylor ruled to allow a ballot measure to fund future operations for the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD).
Backers of the initiative hoped the ruling would curtail the County of San Diego’s efforts to terminate the JCFPD, the region’s last all-volunteer fire department, and shift fire and ambulance services to the County Fire Authority (CFA) in conjunction with Cal Fire.
But despite Judge Taylor’s ruling, yesterday the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted 7-0 to dissolve the district. Residents could still block the takeover through a protest process that’s now been triggered. Determined opponents of the takeover are gearing up for the fight, arguing that eliminating volunteer firefighters who live in the community will make the area less safe, not safer has had been promised by the CFA.