Challenging season ahead for new chief
Brian Schafer is enthusiastic about his new position as chief of the Lake Valley Fire Protection District, though he may face some hot issues right off the bat.
“The immediate concern is we are facing the potential for an unprecedented fire season in the basin,” said Schafer, who took over May 1 when former Chief John Ceko retired. “Our fuels are already in a condition they usually don’t reach until they have gone through an entire season of drying. So where you may have a month of peak fire danger (in a normal season) we will have four.”
Schafer is also busy preparing Lake Valley’s proposal to provide ambulance service in South Lake Tahoe. Schafer has spent so much time writing the proposal he hasn’t even moved into his new office.
“On the top of the priority list is to assure the success of that proposal, should the Board of Supervisors award us the ambulance bid,” Schafer said. “We have made a commitment to the community and we want to make sure we fulfill those obligations. There are a lot of fire departments that are providing ambulance service with firefighter paramedics.”
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider the plan, along with four competing proposals, later this month.
Ceko is spending the first six weeks of his retirement touring Southeast Asia, according to Schafer, who has been with Lake Valley for 25 years.
“I have been well-trained to step into this position,” said Schafer, 48. “I was promoted to assistant chief in 1992. During John’s (Ceko) time we took a cooperative approach to administration and management of the fire department. (Assistant Chief Curt Warren) and the other staff will continue the team approach to the management and administration of the fire department that has been successful.”
Schafer said the successful operation of emergency services in Tahoe depends on cooperation between the different agencies in the basin. He said he plans to continue to foster a good working relationship with the police, the sheriffs’ departments and other area fire districts.
“One of the advantages we see is all of the departments in the basin work very well together,” Schafer said. “Because of the isolation we are dependent on one another. We will continue to to increase the amount of interagency cooperation between the fire departments, sheriff’s search and rescue and any other agency that assists us in dealing with emergencies.”
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