Cal Fire fires back at El Dorado Hills Fire Department mailer

By: By Chief Kelly C. Keenan, Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado Unit, Special to the Telegraph
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Recently residents of El Dorado Hills received a mailer from the El Dorado Hills Fire Department regarding the state’s Fire Prevention Fee that unfortunately had a number of assertions about Cal Fire that I would like to address.

The postcard stated, “Our department responds to all fire and emergency incidents within the district, mostly without the aid of Cal Fire.”

This year alone, Cal Fire has responded to approximately 50 incidents within El Dorado Hills.

The Cal Fire responses were primarily for incidents that constitute a fire threat to State Responsibility Area (SRA), the area where Cal Fire has primary responsibility for wildfires. These responses include wildland fires, structure fires, vehicle fires, debris fires, as well as smoke checks.

It’s important to note that in the SRA, even within the district, Cal Fire has the jurisdictional and financial responsibility for wildland fires.

Another reason for opposition to the fee that is listed on the district’s mailer states, “Our department conducts prevention activities at schools and public events without the aid of Cal Fire.”

The fact is Cal Fire has a long history of contributing to fire prevention efforts within El Dorado Hills. Some examples include:

Lakehills Multi Agency Disaster Drill

A Cal Fire Battalion Chief served as a unified command incident commander (IC) working side-by-side with the El Dorado Hills Fire IC in coordinating and managing this drill.

Our Cal Fire public information officer assisted the fire district with public information, planning, town hall meetings and implementation related to the Lakehills Multi Agency Disaster Drill.

Numerous Cal Fire personnel and fire engines participated in this drill. This was a very successful multi-agency drill.

Land Use Planning in El Dorado Hills

Cal Fire reviews parcel maps and subdivisions for compliance with Fire Safe Regulations in the district.

Cal Fire reviews and signs off on Wildland Fire Safe Plans written for parcel maps and subdivisions in the District.

Cooperative Training

Cal Fire works cooperatively with the fire district on hosting wildfire investigation training on an annual basis.

Cal Fire works closely with Sacramento Sierra Arson Task Force on promoting training. The fire district is a great partner in this work and provides a facility and support for many of these training sessions.

Fire Investigation

All wildland fires within the SRA of El Dorado Hills are investigated by Cal Fire.

Cal Fire has assisted the fire district with structure fire investigations. Cal Fire has made felony and misdemeanor arrests of juveniles and adults related to wildland arson, fireworks and other arson fires in the fire district.

Cal Fire routinely patrols the SRA for illegal fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday as well as provides Cal Fire engine coverage for the permitted fireworks display at El Dorado Hills Town Center.

Reducing the fire risk

Over the years, Cal Fire has conducted numerous vegetation management projects on State Park’s property adjacent to El Dorado Hills. Cal Fire has met with State Parks to address illegal campfire problems.

Cal Fire crews clear weeds around El Dorado Hills Fire Stations, as well as working with the El Dorado Hills Fire Department in Fire Safe Demonstration lots.

To conclude, Cal Fire and El Dorado Hills Fire Department have a great working relationship and will continue to do so.

We work very well together both on emergency incidents and as cooperating agencies.

Fire protection and emergency services truly take all cooperating agencies working together to provide the best service to the public.

We take our responsibilities of protecting the SRA in El Dorado Hills very seriously, as we do with all of the other fire protection districts in Amador, El Dorado, and Sacramento counties.

In keeping with those responsibilities, Cal Fire is always engaged in responding to all emergencies as appropriate with our cooperating agencies, as well as engaged in fire prevention and training opportunities in SRA within the boundaries of those cooperating agencies.

Kelly C. Keenan is the Unit Chief for Cal Fire’s Amador-El Dorado Unit.