Rural fire fees due soon
December 23, 2011
In little more than a week, thousands of San Luis Obispo County rural residents will be nailed by a $150 “fire prevention fee” levied by the state of California and criticized by opponents as unnecessary and illegal. [SFChronicle]
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed the fee during the last legislative session and lawmakers approved it in order to generate new revenues of tens of millions of dollars for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fee applies to residential and other habitable structures in rural areas throughout the state.
Cal Fire officials estimate 800,000 such structures exist on land where it provides fire service.
Southern California urban areas are stretching into wildland areas, and the landscape creates a high risk for devastating wildfires.
“This funding is vital to support wildfire prevention efforts, arson investigations, and other important Cal Fire programs,” said Elizabeth Ashford, spokeswoman for Brown, adding that “31 million acres in California are protected by Cal Fire.”