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San Diego Still Lagging In Fire Spending

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Aired 9/2/10

San Diego County continues to spend less on fire protection than its northern neighbors. A new study shows the region is still struggling to close the gap.

— San Diego County continues to spend less on fire protection than its northern neighbors. A new study shows the region is still struggling to close the gap.

The number of wildfires in San Diego is expected to increase as a result of climate change. In this photo, a San Diego firefighter battles flames in Tierrasanta during 2003 wildfires.
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Above: The number of wildfires in San Diego is expected to increase as a result of climate change. In this photo, a San Diego firefighter battles flames in Tierrasanta during 2003 wildfires.

The National University System Institute for Policy Research compared per capita spending on fire and emergency services between San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. For fiscal year 2010, fire agencies in San Diego spent a combined $153 per person, while LA spent $218 and Orange County spent $178.

That’s a smaller gap than the previous year, but Institute President Erik Bruvold said San Diego is still behind overall.

“While San Diego has gradually increased its investment in fire, what’s concerning is the gap’s actually greater today than it was in 2003,” he said.

Bruvold said increased resources up north mean those counties have a greater ability to respond to fires faster and help prevent damage.

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