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.
When the Fire Safe Council finally got in the Jacumba station for the meeting, most of the speakers and leaders predicted that fire and EMT protection coverage at Jacumba Hot Springs and Boulevard would get worse.
One of the Fire leaders (a longtime former fireman from Campo) speaking twice at the meeting wanted the entire populace to appear at every Supervisor meeting and each speak for 2 minutes about the East County fire protection situation until action was taken.
He also claimed that the new County Fire Authority was busy building a strong home office bureaucracy and sacrificing operational fire boots on the ground readiness.
If Tule is built in McCain Valley, in view of the recent fires at wind farms in Riverside County and elsewhere, we will have another huge San Diego wildfire, that is a certainty. Possibly, given the attached situation fire document on the two huge substations currently under construction, they could also cause another wildfire catastrophe.
One would think that San Diego County of all Counties would protect themselves after their recent catastrophic wild fire history. "Those who ignore or forget their history are doomed to repeat it."
Dear Supervisor Jacob, Thom Porter, Cal Fire Chief - email@example.com
David Nissan, Rural Chief - Dave.Nissen@fire.ca.gov
Herman Reddick, California Fire Authority - Herman.Reddick@sdcounty.ca.gov
Attached please find a report and incorporated input by The Jacumba Hot Springs (JHS) Sponsor Group to The Real East County Wildfire Protection Program, Ken Daubach President. As we researched this input document we uncovered a miriad of unanswered questions and facts about Jacumba Hot Springs as well as Boulevard's Fire Protection. The attached document speaks for itself about our current situation, questions and the very confused state of fire protection in our communities.
We are asking that you reply to the following specific questions and requests further explained in our attached CWPP input document:
- Why weren't the promised funding, personnel, training and equipment promised in late 2012 and January 2013 by SDG&E in the two attached MOUS for Jacumba and Boulevard included in The Fire Authority's July 2013 Master Plan? Or The Jacumba Sponsor Group and The Real East County Fire Safe Council notified of these additions to our fire stations and community protection assets?
- Is it possible that the three involved Fire Chief's intend to divert these promised fire protection assets to another locale? Please assure us in writing that our area will receive these promised fire protection assets and soon since all of these major Electrical facilities are either built or currently under construction.
- Why is the Boulevard station mostly currently unmanned and The Jacumba Station without enough personnel to be open 24/7, also without the required four fire personnel to fully fight structure fires in our community as well as at our three new electrical facilities plus at the local revived operational Railroad?
- Our current ISO rating is a 9. With a water company, fire hydrants throughout the city, the only reason that the rating is this high would be the inefficiency of the station staffing the high fire danger rated projects in our area. We have added additional fire suppression help in our community by revitalizing the lake to be used by helicopter pilots. We are however fighting tamarisk growth around the lake and the railroad. If we could get assistance from your crews (ie. McCain Valley), we would be able to clear this area to give the helicopters better access to the area. Please advise us on these matters.
- Included in the MOUS signed by San Diego County and SDG&E is an acknowledgment of enhanced fire danger and the need for specialized equipment, training, funding and personnel. The JHS Sponsor Group and The Fire Safe Council see a time critical need for these assets to be in place by the start of the 2014 Fire Season. We therefore ask for a schedule with dates and responsibilities covering the procurement and acquisition of the personnel, equipment, training and deployment of these assets plus the agreed upon funding.
- Please provide a time when the relevant State and County Fire Chiefs can also meet in Jacumba Hot Springs with The JHS Sponsor Group, The Boulevard Planning Group, and The Real East County Fire Safe Council to address the issues brought forward by these documents.
Howard W Cook - Chair, Helen Landman Vice Chair (contact person for Oct, 2013) JHS Sponsor Group
Ken Daubach - President, The Real East County Fire Safe Council
Additional Documents: Eco Substation MOU with Rural Fire Protection District and SDG&E;