Village News Reporter
North County Fire Protection District staff will be working with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on a lease agreement to house a CalFire dozer barn at NCFPD Station 3 in Rainbow.
A 5-0 NCFPD board vote May 23 directed staff to explore the possibility of a dozer barn facility lease agreement. If such an agreement is reached at the staff level, it will be brought to the NCFPD board for approval.
“We are in discussions,” said NCFPD Fire Chief Keith McReynolds. “The board supported us continuing to discuss the matter with CalFire.”
After the California Department of Corrections closed the Rainbow Conservation Camp in the 8200 block of Rainbow Heights Drive, CalFire took over that facility. The Rainbow Conservation Camp was one of four inmate firefighting camps in San Diego County, and two of those were closed.
The firefighting equipment including the bulldozer used for clearance or other access when needed remained at the Rainbow Conservation Camp. CalFire is the primary agency responsible for fire protection in Rainbow Heights, and Rainbow is also within the boundaries of the North County Fire Protection District.
“CalFire is interested in bringing their firefighting dozer off of Rainbow Heights,” McReynolds said.
The CalFire dozer has been deployed to locations other than Rainbow, including during the December 2017 Lilac fire. Not only is Rainbow Heights Road remote compared to some of the areas which have required the dozer’s deployment, but the street is a long meandering narrow roadway with steep grades and sharp turns.
NCFPD Station 3 is at the northeast corner of Fifth Street and Rainbow Valley Boulevard. “The dozer and truck wouldn’t need to navigate Rainbow Heights Road,” McReynolds said.
The lease agreement would allow a CalFire facility on the Station 3 land to house a firefighting bulldozer along with a supporting truck and tractor. “That could possibly involve construction of a dozer barn,” McReynolds said.
The April 25 NCFPD board meeting included approval of a design-build contract to replace Station 3 which would involve renovating 777 square feet of the existing building while adding 1,740 square feet to the current station. The discussions and staff evaluation will include how the potential dozer barn, which is a separate project, might work in conjunction with the planned renovation of the back apron of Station 3 which is being designed as part of the station renovation.