Cooperative agreement extends back decades
AUBURN, Calif. – The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution last week authorizing a $38.9 million, three-year contract with CAL FIRE, which provides full-service fire, rescue and medical response to nearly one-third of the county. CAL FIRE has served as the Placer County Fire Department for nearly 50 years under a cooperative fire protection agreement.
The contract renewal is for fiscal years 2021-24 and ensures CAL FIRE will continue to provide year-round fire protection, prevention, rescue, hazardous materials and emergency medical response for approximately 475 square miles of the county not served by a municipality or special district. CAL FIRE will also continue to provide full-service fire and EMS dispatching to the county as part of the agreement.
Volunteers and resident firefighters
Through CAL FIRE, PCFD serves approximately 57,000 residents with fire service provided by both career and volunteer firefighters. The contract pays for 61 full-time firefighters, which are used to staff the 24/7 operation. Firefighters operate out of three CAL FIRE-owned stations located in Alta, Colfax and Bowman and five County-owned fire stations located in North Auburn, Ophir, Lincoln, the Sunset Area and Dry Creek.
Approximately 33 volunteers and five resident firefighters also operate out of those eight stations as well as from four community volunteer stations located in Dutch Flat, Paige, Thermalands and Sheridan.
“As the county fire chief, I am very proud to serve the communities here in Placer County,” said CAL FIRE / Placer County Fire Chief Brian Estes. “The men and women of the Placer County Fire Department are committed to professionalism and service and I am truly honored by the respect we have from our Board of Supervisors and Executive Office. We are so proud of our 70-year relationship with the county and look for the future to be even brighter and stronger in our commitment to our mission.”
The fiscal year 2021-22 portion of the contract is $1,312,117 less than the previous year and still fully funds fire services for residents whose annual assessment fees do not cover the complete cost of services. The amount will increase 5% annually for the remaining years in the contract. The overall cost savings for the three-years contract, in comparison to the fiscal year 2020-21 contract, is $2,063,905 of taxpayer funds.
Fire protection and stewardship of over 31 million acres of California’s privately-owned wildlands. In addition, the Department provides varied emergency services in 36 of the State’s 58 counties via contracts with local governments.
Beyond its wildland firefighting role, CAL FIRE is an “all-risk” department. It may very well be a CAL FIRE engine and crew that is dispatched to the scene of an auto accident, or to a home where a child has become the victim of a drowning incident. The Department is always ready to respond – medical aids; hazardous material spills; swift water rescues; search and rescue missions; civil disturbances; train wrecks; floods, earthquakes and more.