Saturday, 30 September 2023

Burton: Northshore Fire needs Measure N

The eight fire emergencies of the last four years have demonstrated the need to respond to fires fast to keep our neighbors safe.

It’s been more than 15 years since the Northshore Fire Protection District budget has been increased. As a result, the district is facing hard times and the Friends of Northshore Fire are asking District 3 voters to support Measure N to bring in badly needed resources. The election is on Nov. 5.

District 3, on the county’s Northshore, is the biggest in the county, 357 square miles and 47 miles of highway. Our fire district serves about 10,000 residents in the communities of Witter Springs, Bachelor Valley, Blue Lakes, Upper Lake, Nice, Bartlett Springs, Lucerne, Glenhaven, Clearlake Oaks, High Valley, Spring Valley, Long Valley, Double Eagle and several other small communities.

That’s a lot of ground to cover and people to serve. Our firefighters do a great job responding to fires, medical emergencies and automobile accidents. But when engines break down or the station doors don’t open or personal gear malfunctions, delayed responses are inevitable and the consequences can be dire.

In our fire-prone environments keeping fires small so they don’t spread to a neighbors home or other building requires fast response. And it goes without saying that the faster help arrives to a medical emergency, the better the odds of surviving.

If approved by voters, Measure N will enable better training and retention of fire fighting personnel. It will allow the hiring of additional fire fighters for 24/7 coverage at the Upper Lake station bringing it up to par with the other stations in the district and allowing for faster response to calls in and around Upper Lake. Measure N will also replace very old equipment and engines and get our fire stations in compliance with basic standards. More importantly, it will enable our firefighters to respond faster to fire and other emergencies.

I’m a former fire chief so I am familiar with the needs of the district. In the case of Measure N, the money collected stays in our local fire district budget – it can’t be used for other purposes. Also, Measure N replaces the current fees beginning next July. The new tax on a single-family residence will be $126 a year, about $2.50 a month.

For more information about Measure N, check, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 707-274-3100 and someone on the committee will respond.

It’s not right to ask our fire fighters to do a job with less than optimum tools. Measure N will change that.

Jim Burton is the retired fire chief of Clearlake Oaks, Calif. He also chairs the Northshore Fire Protection District Board.

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