Fuelbreak work should begin in fall

The new Type 6 fire engine now stationed at Pine Cove Fire Station driven by newly retired Capt. Mark Gilman. Photo courtesy JP Crumrine

The County Service Area 38 (Pine Cove) Advisory Committee was able, even briefly, to admire an accomplishment. The new Type 6 engine for Station 23 (Pine Cove) has arrived and is already in use.

Just a year ago, the committee agreed with the Riverside County Fire Department’s proposal to acquire the vehicle for Pine Cove. In November, Bautista Division Chief Bill Weiser assured the committee that its acquisition should occur before summer. (See accompanying photograph.)

Also, David Alvarez of the county’s Economic Development Agency confirmed that the acquisition of a chipper has been accomplished and it should shortly join the engine in Pine Cove.

The next major acquisition, a masticator, is now underway, Alvarez confirmed.

The recommendation of a budget for fiscal year 2017-18 was deferred a month until the committee receives the final cost figures for these purchases. The engine’s cost was about $240,000 and the chipper cost about $36,000.

“We need to have ‘hard’ figures and have the masticator cost, too,” Committee Chair Jerry Holldber told Alvarez, in order to propose a budget for next year.

The CSA 38 balance at the end of April was about $625,000. By the end of the fiscal year, another $25,000 of revenue should be credited to the CSA account, and the balance of engine and chipper costs will be deducted.

Beginning next year, the only revenue source for CSA 38 will be the portion of the county’s property tax since the parcel fee for emergency services ends.

Besides purchasing the masticator, which will show up next fiscal year, the committee discussed sharing some of the cost with the county Fire Department for maintenance of the Pine Cove Fuelbreak and several other projects for Station 23.

The work on the fuelbreak will benefit the entire Pine Cove community. It will be big and wide, about 500 feet, including a road in the middle, and eventually, when finished, tie into the State Park Fuelbreak near Dark Canyon, according to Weiser.

“The chipper will be used on the Red Hill Truck portion,” Weiser said. “That is why the chipper was essential to this project and future work on the fuelbreak.”

After the meeting, Holldber said, “I’m really pleased and excited about the Type 6 patrol truck. I believe it will do great work for Pine Cove and the surrounding area.”

In other business, the committee acknowledged the retirement last week of Capt. Mark Gilman.

Also, the ad-hoc committee reviewing the potential disposition of Squad 23 discussed its views, such as auctioning the unit and the proceeds returned to the CSA 38 coffers. As of last month, Riverside County had not expressed an interest in the vehicle, but the committee asked Weiser to verify the county’s position, such as donating to another local government. No action regarding the squad was taken at this meeting.