Fire chief reminds residents of option to annex into district
As Truckee Fire Protection District enters into its busy season, Chief Mike Terwilliger wants to remind residents in areas that fall under the district’s sphere of influence they do not have fire protection with the district.
TFPD’s new sphere of influence, recently completed by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo.), includes Klondike Flat, Hobart Mills, Timber Trails, Russell Valley , The Meadows and Floriston.
“My guess is 50 percent of these people think they have fire protection,” Terwilliger said. “I want to respond to help them, but I want to be able to justify it to the citizens of this district.”
He said the hope is these residential areas will petition to annex into the district, but it is up to the individual landowners to do this.
These area have fire coverage by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, but only during fire season. They are also covered by the U.S. Forest Service, but only for wildland fires and only daytime protection for the initial attack, Terwilliger said.
“We’d like them to annex into the district so we can offer them fire protection,” he said. “I’m just afraid that we’re going to be busy and there’s a structure fire out there and we can’t show up … They might be expecting us and waiting for us.”
The Calvary Chapel, which has a proposal for a new church site in Klondike Flat, recently applied for annexation with the district. The TFPD board approved the annexation request, which will be submitted to LAFCo.
“Although we’re looking at annexation with this parcel, the areas within our sphere that are not in our district do not have fire protection,” Terwilliger said. Now that larger development projects, such as the Calvary Chapel, are popping up these areas, annexation has become more of an issue, he said.
If there was a structure fire in one of these areas, the residents would most likely be billed for TFPD response and protection.
“If we expend resources, we’re going to bill them for it,” he said. The average structure fire costs between $3,000 and $4,000.
Annexation costs approximately $2,000 to $3,000, and as Terwilliger explained, it would make more sense to annex a bigger area, where residents could possibly split the costs.
Annexation would not raise taxes for the residents; it’s a one-time fee.
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