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Regional Fire Protection Committee Holds Third Meeting This Week

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Aired 4/19/09

The Regional Fire Protection Committee convened by County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Mayor Jerry Sanders held its third meeting this week. The goal of the group is to forge a regional solution to the lack of firefighting resources in San Diego County. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

So far the committee has done little more than hear reports with recommendations on all the things that need to be done to protect San Diego from future fire storms.

Fire chiefs from around the region were polled. They concluded they could house 25 new fire engines to add to the surge capacity in the critical early hours of a wild fire. The estimated cost: $15 million.

Supervisors Ron Roberts says his visits to other counties lead him to conclude San Diego also needs more air power.

Roberts : The couple of helicopters we have is wonderful but it’s a small step in terms of what we need. So you’re talking about millions, tens of millions of dollars, I think you look to federal and state but I think at the end of the day San Diego is going to have to look to itself to solve a major part of this.

Roberts would not say whether there will be a measure on the November ballot to raise the money for more fire resources, but he said it is possible.

Mayors and fire chiefs from several San Diego County cities are represented on the committee.

Roberts says his plan is to produce recommendations on more resources, better regional coordination and possible financing by the end of June.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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