Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ex-San Diego Fire Chief: "The Time for Action is Now"

An excerpt from the North County Times:

"RANCHO BERNARDO -- In unveiling a report on regional firefighting strategies at a news conference Tuesday, former San Diego fire Chief Jeff Bowman said, "Much of what government does is this."

Bowman stooped down to pick up a pile of documents nearly a foot thick. "This is what we produced after the (2003) Cedar fire."

There is no need for more studies, said Bowman, who lives in Escondido.

"The time for action is now," he said.

Speaking from a hilltop cul-de-sac where three Rancho Bernardo homes were incinerated in the Witch Creek fire last fall, Bowman and other members of a group called the San Diego Regional Fire Safety Forum outlined a checklist of actions they believe the region must take to avoid a similar catastrophe.

They called on the region's most influential agencies to buy four new firefighting helicopters and 50 fire engines, and consolidate the numerous rural fire districts into a regional fire authority like one in Orange County, among other things."

Yesterday, Feb. 19, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved the acquisition of a second helicopter for the city Fire-Rescue Department. They estimate it will cost $16 million and should be in service by August.

Photo of Chief Bowman, courtesy of SignOnSanDiego, 2006.

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