Gaines blasts plan to ax fire funding at Tahoe |

Gaines blasts plan to ax fire funding at Tahoe

Staff Report

Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, expressed concerns Thursday regarding California Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2012-’13 budget proposal that slashes fire protection funding for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“As we near the fifth anniversary of the devastating Angora fire that ravaged the Lake Tahoe area, leaving destruction in its wake, I am baffled by the governor’s decision to put lives and property in even more danger by cutting fire protection funding for the region,” the senator said in a statement.

According to a press release from Gaines’ office, Brown’s proposed budget eliminates the entire $2.3 million in general fund cash for Lake Tahoe Basin fire protection, and leaves only one forester and four part-time seasonal forestry aides to provide fire prevention services such as defensible space inspections and enforcement.

Residents will continue to have some fire protection services through local fire districts, according to the release.

“I would like to thank Senator Gaines for his leadership on this critical public safety matter,” said North Tahoe Fire District Chief Duane Whitelaw in a statement. “We are equally troubled by this latest cut to the vital fire protection services we provide the community and will do all we can to reverse this budget decision.”

According to the press release, Gaines intends to follow up on this matter until funding and the safety and protection of the residents of Lake Tahoe is fully restored.

“One of the essential services government should provide its citizens is public safety,” Gaines said. “We need to seriously evaluate things when we’ve reached a point where we can’t even provide that peace of mind to residents. If you are as upset about this budget decision as I am, I urge you to call Governor Brown and ask him for reconsideration.”

Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento and Sierra counties.

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