Santa Clara County firefighters responded to a vegetation fire in San Jose in September 2018.

Santa Clara County Fire Department

Santa Clara Firefighters Seek Bigger Budget To Address Fire Dangers

Megan Goldsby
April 17, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Santa Clara County’s Fire Department is asking for more help from the county government to prevent fires, including hiring people, staffing a wildfire management team, and purchasing helicopters.

The department is asking for $1.7 million for the initial phase, followed by millions more after that to buy heavy equipment and helicopters.

Fire prevention efforts now involve an amalgamation of different government agencies, said Santa Clara County Fire Chief Tony Bowden. 

“Wildfires do not respect jurisdictional boundaries and no one agency can solve this problem alone,” he told KCBS Radio. 

The county already approved a framework for this in 2016, in the form of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan. But Santa Clara Fire Capt. Bill Murphy said it hasn’t been fully implemented. The first step toward brining the plan into existence shoudl be to focus on hiring, he said. 

“So the initial request is actually to operationalize that plan, put the positions in place, because the wildfire problem is very similar to painting the Golden Gate Bridge — doing fuel reduction, doing fuel maintenance — is something that is not a one-and-done thing," said Murphy.