Arcata Fire continues to address financial problems

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ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM) – The Arcata Fire District continues to address its financial problems. After Measure R failed to pass, the district hopes a new measure might see more success.

Arcata Fire feels the effects of the March decision on a daily basis. Fire Chief Justin McDonald said instead of permanently closing a fire station, the Board of Directors opted to implement an eight day cycle in which one station is “browned out.” McDonald said the decision was made to make sure no single community was impacted by a total station closure.

Two stations are always open, but one will remain closed each week. The district now operates with smaller crews as the two stations are staffed by two firefighters each, with a third occasionally added to one location.

McDonald said if funding and staff numbers continue to decrease, further issues will arise. Arcata Fire relies on help from other departments for coverage. If the district is unable to provide coverage for the neighboring departments, Arcata Fire may not be able to receive any in return.

McDonald is hopeful that a new measure could see more success as community groups have voiced their support. A Board of Directors meeting on July 14 will determine the next steps in the process toward a new measure. The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.