Chester Fire Faces Uncertain Future: Tensions Rise Over Funding & Layoffs


Tension begins to build again for Chester Fire as the Local union fears layoffs are imminent, yet the GM of CPUD says those discussions have yet to be made.

CPUD is facing a 1.2 million dollar deficit in the Fire Department, and some are asking if the community can continue to afford a full-time firehouse, as it may be time to consider an all-volunteer department.

CPUD is counting on a hail mary through a ballot measure this November for a proposed 450-dollar parcel tax to partially fund the department. During the Lake Almanor Town Hall Monday, GM Adam Cox however said to fully fund the department it would take a 1500 dollar tax.

Thus, another option that is being weighed for CPUD to contract with Seneca for EMS service, to which CEO Shawen McKenzie says he must make fiscally responsible choices, and in order for the contract to work according to law as a critical access facility, both Penninsula Fire and Chester fire would have to relinquish their EMS operating Licensure, a feat not likely to be accommodated as Pen Fire is a well-funded department and can operate a staffed ambulance and fire service.

Securing funding and resolving the significant deficit in Chester Fire’s budget will be necessary to continue to have a fire service, Cox says this can be accomplished in part through the parcel tax and increasing EMS revenue.

CPUD meets on the last Tuesday of each month at 5:30 at the district building on Chester Airport Rd.