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City of Oroville looking to switch services to CAL FIRE

The Oroville Fire Department may be regionalized with CAL FIRE Butte County in the future.

Posted: Jun 16, 2021 6:12 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2021 9:32 AM

OROVILLE, Calif. - As fire season ramps up, the City of Oroville is still trying to figure out the best way to protect the city.

The City of Oroville is looking to switch services to CAL FIRE Butte County, leaving many people frustrated.

"Please don't take our fire department away, or turn it over to another company,” said Karen Johnson, who lives in Thermalito.

Johnson does not want to see the historical Oroville department close its doors anytime soon.

"I just don't see where our local guys that have put their hearts and souls into this town every year,” said Johnson. “You see what it is like every year. Every year it is a disaster come fire season."

Switching services like this is quite popular across the state right now.

"There is a trend in our state going towards that type of a model for fire service especially as it applies to communities in rural areas,” said Eric Smith, Oroville City Council member.

The state has an almost 12% administrative charge, adding up to a $3-4 million dollar difference to what the city currently has.

"If the administrative charges were equal I would say this is not a bad deal, but they are not,” said David Pittman, Oroville City Council member. “They are considerably twice as much as what we are paying right now."

Local CAL FIRE personnel does not have the ability to adjust this administrative charge since it is set by the administrative office in Sacramento.

The city is also considering an alternative fire protection plan.

"If we increase the level of service for the fire department from what it is today to a class 2 rating, insurance companies would have a higher consideration to charge a lesser amount for insurance premiums,” Pittman told Action News Now.

It would also pay the county for fire calls inside the city.

“There is so much history in this town and this area, and they should be a remaining factor,” said Johnson. “They should be here."

The city council's top priority is a safe community and spending the tax dollars well.

They will be holding public hearings on the topic in their upcoming meetings.

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