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Cal Fire Director Explains Rural Fire Fee

State Fire Fee Needed For Vital Services – By Ken Pimlott, CAL Fire Director.

It’s important to understand Cal Fire’s legal fire protection responsibility in order to understand why the fee is being assessed.

Cal Fire is responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires across the state’s 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area (SRA). These 31 million acres of SRA represent critical resources that must be protected for the benefit of all Californians. These resources, or public trust values, include such things as water and watersheds, open space, wildlife habitat and natural resources.

All taxpayers fund our efforts to protect these valuable resources through the state’s general fund. What the new law addresses are the benefits those individuals in homes in the SRA receive that the rest of the state’s residents do not.

Through passing the law, the Legislature and the governor recognized the presence of structures within the SRA can pose an increased risk of fire ignition and increased potential for damage. This is borne out by the fact that people and their associated activities account for over 94 percent of all fires in the SRA.

The fee will fund a variety of vital fire prevention services across the SRA that include activities to improve forest health so our forests can better withstand the damaging effects of wildfire.

The types of fire prevention activities funded by the fee also include fire break construction, defensible space inspections, fire prevention engineering, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, implementation of the state’s Fire Plan and fire related law enforcement activities like arson investigation.

To illustrate just how important these prevention efforts are, I’d like to highlight the fact our investigators recently arrested three individuals on suspicion of three separate acts of arson in the North Bay, Sierra foothills and in Sacramento County.

One of the individuals we arrested is suspected of starting the 2,560-acre Placer County Robbers fire, which cost taxpayers an estimated $16 million to suppress. If our efforts prevent just a handful of these kinds of large, damaging fires, the cost avoidance alone is worth the $9.58 a month that the average homeowner will pay for the fee.

In order to provide residents answers to their questions about the fire prevention fee, Cal Fire has provided for a Fee Service Call Center staffed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except holidays). The number is 1-888-310-6447.

We’ve also created a comprehensive website with answers to frequently asked questions and helpful links — www.FirePreventionFee.org

As with any new fee, those that receive the bill should know why the fee is being charged, and I appreciate the opportunity to explain the rationale in this venue.

As we enter what is historically the time of year when our state’s largest and most damaging fires occur, it is incumbent upon all Californians to take steps to prevent wildfires from starting.

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_21277867
More Information: About the Fire Prevention Fee – http://firepreventionfee.org/

5 comments

  1. This is DOUBLE TAXATION READ THE CONSTITUTION. If you are going to tax, tax everyone . No one ask me . I just got the bill called the # they even said we all ready get TAXED for this and this is another TAX. B.S.

  2. fee = tax,,,,,,,,,,I understand that the so called fees are going to the general fund. Not to a fund that is directed to fires,,,,therefore this is a TAX

  3. If We in the rural areas now have to pay CalFire activities then we should be able to hold CalFire accountable for their expenses and restructure their organization to make the best use of public funding. CalFire should have to restructure and lose their Union so Porthole to Porthole expenditures stop. Calfire recently gave all their Fire Prevention materials to the USDA Forest Service reasoning that they can no longer use them. Hence, purchase of new fire prevention materials to replace what was given away should not be an allowed expenditure. CalFire fireman should be made to stay in fire camps when possible and not in hotels, which is a wasteful expense. CalFire recently built several new fire stations and I believe we are being forced to pay for expenditures the organization made prior to the Fire Tax.

  4. We have a small cabin in the Sierra’s. The fire insurance we pay is the very top step of any fees, most expensive, because it is in a high risk fire area and the response for any fire service is more than 45 minutes. If this fire tax is going to make things better, why will we continue to pay the highest insurance fees there is? I see this as just getting in the pockets of the homeowners, even if they only have a fixed income.

  5. What a crock. By that same logic, because drunk drivers are infinitely more likely to be involved in an injury or death-related collision, lets assess everyone who drinks alcohol a special fee to offset the irresponsible ones. Better yet, why not just project potential traffic violations and hand out citations to everyone as a preventative measure. There are disparities no matter where you live in California. We in the “SRA” do not benefit equally from the tax dollars we pay for schools, law enforcement, state highway dollars (how many overpasses or interchanges in Mariposa County?), but no one has seen a compensatory rebate to offset disproportionate benefit to us. I repeat, it’s a crock. If it’s the state’s, specifically Cal-Fire’s, goal to rob us, just do it without the sugar-coating.

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