Arcata Fire District financial problems pose new challenge during fire season

ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM) – Providing mutual aid poses a challenge to the Arcata Fire District. Currently short-staffed, the fire district is now down to two operating stations. It can no longer afford to staff three locations at one time. November cannot come soon enough as supporters hope Measure F will provide much needed financial relief.

Measure F is a special tax that will allow the Arcata Fire District to refill vacant firefighter positions, reopen one station, and put funds toward replacing a fire engine.

As historic wildfires burn across the state, more support is needed to help control these massive blazes. While staffing is an issue for the Arcata Fire District, Chief Justin McDonald said sending a fire engine out of the county for mutual aid could actually help the current financial situation.

“This has been a bit of a stretch for us,” McDonald said, “We have been able to, for the last about two weeks now, muster up a team to provide an engine to assist CAL FIRE. The benefit to that is the state pays for that engine to be staffed up. No cost to our taxpayers and we actually make a little revenue on the side from that.”