Santa Cruz County Fire cites several challenges battling fires in unincorporated areas


SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Cruz County Fire says funding is needed to provide efficient year-round fire protection and emergency response services in unincorporated areas of the county.

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will discuss this following a report on this and other challenges facing county fire crews.

The areas facing the most challenge are Bonny Doon, Davenport, Loma Prieta, Corralitos, Las Cumbres and the wider South Skyline area.

Funding challenges have led to 25% fewer firefighters on staff today compared to 10 years ago and a declining number of volunteer firefighters.

County fire says they've also seen a 22% increase in emergency calls.

"In the winter time, the county only has us staffed at two people in each truck," says Santa Cruz County Fire Chief, Ian Larkin. "The state's requirement, though, is that we have a third firefighter on the engine in order to provide a better response to the public."

The board of supervisors will consider what to do once they're done listening to the report on these challenges.

One option to be considered by the Board is whether to hold a vote by property owners on implementing an assessment under Proposition 218 to fund additional fire protection and emergency response services.

If approved, a mail vote would take place within 45 days of any Board action.

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