Alpine Fire Safe Council
County Fire Services Plan
Due to increasing development in Eastern Alpine County, and the limited
human, equipment and financial resources available to the all-volunteer
Markleeville and Woodfords Fire Departments, in May, 2004 the Alpine
County Board of Supervisors and the Alpine Fire Safe Council (AFSC)
agreed to develop a master fire plan for Eastern Alpine County. An
ad-hoc committee was formed that included members of the Board of Supervisors,
representatives of the fire departments, Sheriff's office, Office of
Emergency Services, interested members of the public and the AFSC.
The ad-hoc committee produced two reports. The Phase
I report (72
KB) examined the existing situation and what might be done about it,
the Phase II report (417
KB) examined the more promising alternatives in detail and made recommendations
as to the preferred alternative. In May, 2005 the Board of Supervisors
approved the Phase II report and voted to implement the recommendations.
The key findings of the above reports are:
Although they are called fire departments, the community calls
on them for far more than structural fires. During the period June
2002 through June 2004 the combined call statistics of the Markleeville
and Woodfords Fire Departments were as follows:
|Type of Call
- Due to the larger population served and the heavy tourist and
commercial traffic on Highway 88, the work load falls disproportionately
on the Woodfords Fire Department.
- Currently the Woodfords Fire Department is responding to approximately
130 calls per year, which is an extremely heavy work load for an
- Despite the enthusiasm and dedication of the current volunteers,
history shows that the heavy work load will burn most of them out
in a fairly short time unless the community can provide the support
and recognition that they deserve.
- Changed demographics in the community and mandated stiffer training
requirements make recruitment of new volunteers difficult.
- Some property owners are having difficulty getting reasonably priced
The key recommendations are:
- Consolidate the Markleeville and Woodfords departments into one
department under one paid fire chief and one paid assistant chief in
the Emergency Services office. In year 3 consolidate the Emergency
Medical Services into the one department.
- The current level of funding that goes to the Markleeville and
Woodfords fire departments should be maintained, and allocated to
the consolidated department.
- A Benefit Assessment District should be formed as soon as possible
with the proceeds dedicated to fire and emergency medical services.
- Negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the Woodfords
Community on their funding of a proportionate share of the costs.
- A Capital Improvement Plan for fire and emergency medical services
should be completed and based on that plan the current impact fee
schedule should be updated.
- Increase the Transient Occupancy Tax and apply it to campgrounds
and special events that last overnight, with the additional funds
to be dedicated to fire and emergency medical services.
- Increase the Sales Tax, and attempt to increase the tax base by
applying it to ski lift tickets with the additional funds to be dedicated
to fire and emergency medical services.
Unfortunately progress on implementing the plan has been slow to non-existent.
If you are interested in helping move this forward please contact David
Griffith at 530-694-2168.
Currently an interim solution of hiring a full time Fire Chief has been proposed as explained in this letter to the community.