YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) – Volunteer fire departments in rural Yolo County are considering legal action to get the money they need to provide services.
Ronda Lucas, the attorney representing more than 12 districts in the county, said county funding is essential to keep up with a fire season that now lasts all year.READ MORE: Survivors Of Two Pandemics Credit Pets With Helping Them Survive
They train and they respond to fires, medical emergencies and more. Yolo County Volunteer firefighters are sometimes the only resource small communities have in the face of crisis, said Linda Wilson, a former Capay Valley Fire Protection District volunteer firefighter.
“A lot of these firefighters are buying their own equipment,” she said.
Wilson supports the new effort to get Yolo County officials to fund these departments.
“Volunteer firefighters are protecting this county. Somebody has to protect the firefighters,” she said.
Volunteer departments might pursue legal action to obtain funds Yolo County gets from Prop 172. Prop 172 was a tax increase passed in the ’90s to fund emergency services. Most of the money currently goes to the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office. Lucas said none of the money goes to the volunteer fire departments she’s representing.READ MORE: California's Capitol Lit-Up Pink for Second Night, Women Talk End of Roe v. Wade
“We can’t continue flipping pancakes or doing community fundraisers. We need long-term funding in order to continue and maintain,” she said.
Lucas said the county is concerned about taking money away from other departments.
“We believe the county has adequate resources to do it,” Lucas said. “The staff right now just isn’t interested in having that conversation.”
Lucas said in the last few years, volunteer firefighters have become a crucial first response to fires. During the LNU Lightning Complex fires last year, Lucas said Cal Fire was not able to respond in some cases due to a lack of resources.
“Cal Fire was so maxed out that they couldn’t come. So your volunteer firemen held the line and literally saved the town of Winters,” she said.MORE NEWS: Vehicle Crashes Into Heritage Oaks Hospital In Sacramento
The volunteer fire departments are taking their case to the Yolo County board of supervisors during a county meeting Tuesday morning. CBS13 did reach out to county officials but did not get a response.