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County Supervisors approve $5 million for firefighting

SAN DIEGO – A budget proposal requesting $5 million to implement recommendations of the San Diego County Regional Fire Deployment Study received full support from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors June 29.

The study offered suggestions on how to improve regional fire services. The proposal, submitted by chairwoman Pam Slater-Price and vice chairman Bill Horn, directs 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 board in April 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 unincorporated areas. Funds to pay for fire study recommendations are not included.

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,” Slater-Price said. “Fire protection for San Diego County isn’t a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity.”

Horn also assessed the region’s fire protection needs, saying: “Recent fires around the county could be just the beginning of a fire-prone year. The presence of new flash fuels from this winter’s rainfall makes it critically important to provide additional firefighting resources.”

Learn about the fire deployment study at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/Fire_Authority_page.html.

 

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