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Hundreds Of Thousands Of Californians Will Soon Receive Fire Fee

Aired 7/31/12 on KPBS News.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians will soon receive notices that they face a new fire-protection fee. The state Board of Equalization plans to mail the notices next week and the first bills on August 13th.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians will soon receive notices that they face a new fire-protection fee. The state Board of Equalization plans to mail the notices next week and the first bills on August 13th.

Houses and structures receiving the 150-dollar fee are in the so-called State Responsibility area, which consists of 31 million acres where fire protection is charged to the state.

Cal Fire’s Daniel Berlant says the number of structures in the area has grown by about 16 percent in the last decade. “That’s where the residential area start meeting up into the forest and it’s that middle section that we call the wildland urban interface where we see the most fires that cause impact and damage throughout California,so the rural residents that the state is responsible for protecting are the ones that will be assessed the fee.”

But state and county officials are bracing for a flood of angry responses from homeowners who see the fee as an illegal tax.

Most people who live in the state responsibility area already pay for local fire districts. The law gives a $35-dollar discount for structures already in a local district.

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