When fire season opens this year in Nevada County one of the Engines assigned to CalFire Station 20 at Ridge Road and Zion Street will remain idle, because their will be no staffing to run it. CalFire Nevada Yuba Placer Unit Chief Brad Harris says he has been instructed that the staffing for that fire engine is being re-directed to Carnelian Bay-South Lake Tahoe in Placer County to provide fire protection there. Harris says CalFire recently aquired 17,000 acres from the National Forest Service that is now State Responsibility Area, and the staffing is needed to protect that area.
When asked what happens if a major fire erupts in Nevada County, Chief Harris said there are 20 engines assigned to CalFire in the Nevada Yuba Placer District .
The Changes take effect with the start of fire season May 15th, but Harris says dry weather conditions may accelerate the start of fire season to the first part of May. The staffing changes will continue until the end of fire season usually in mid November.
When contacted by KNCO News, Nevada County Consolidated Fire Board Chair Warren Knox says he was unaware of CalFire’s decision, but says any reduction of fire protection coverage in Western Nevada County is troubling.. He says losing one of the 6 CalFire engines in western Nevada County equates to a 17 percent reduction in coverage. Knox says “it will be up to everybody else in the county to make up what’s being lost.” He says “anytime you loose that kind of back up, we’re all concerned.”
Supervisor Hank Weston says he was also surprised that CalFire would make the decision to cut staffing without talking to any of the citizens that will be affected. Weston says after CalFire has built the new fire station and shop facility at Ridge Road and Zion Street , “now we’ll have this $8.4 million facility with only one fire engine sitting in it.”