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Special Council Meeting Will Consider Using Butte Fire Funds To Buy Wildland Fire Truck

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Angels Camp, CA – Local fire officials are eyeing buying a wildfire-fighting truck with some of the settlement funds that Calaveras County sued PG&E for and won in the wake of the 2015 Butte Fire, triggered by a tree falling into a utility-owned line.

Angels Camp City Council has called a special virtual meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. primarily to authorize the purchase of one for $250,000. According to Deputy Fire Chief Nathan Pry, part of the settlement funds from the disaster, which took three lives, destroyed 475 homes, over 300 outbuildings, and burned 70,868 acres over the course of three weeks, were intended for the betterment of local fire suppression with the idea it would be for a capital purchase related to wildland firefighting.

“We have been pricing out some new fire engines because our current Wildland Type 3 Engine is old — I believe it is a 1991 and it is definitely showing its age,” Pry confides. “Normally a fire engine like that would have ten years of front-line experience and then go to a kind of reserve status for ten years and be retired after 20…it is definitely beyond that cycle of replacement, so we are in need.”

Price quotes on new engines had been coming in from $300,00 and upwards of $450,000, he continues. “While we would like to do that, during these uncertain financial times with post-COVID and revenues being in question from sales tax and TOT, it did not seem financially prudent at all to look at doing a loan or to spend reserve funds on this type of a piece of equipment.”

So, while they were scouting, Pry says they were asked about their interest in purchasing a gently used 2017 truck with about 30,000 miles on it that had been repossessed from another California fire district, owned by Union Grove, Alabama-based Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus that is currently being housed by an affiliate in Sacramento.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to purchase it and are hoping that the council agrees with the recommendation…we think it is much needed not only for the City of Angels Camp but…to offer better suppression throughout the county to our neighbors and to offer to go on major fires throughout the state,” Pry states.

If approved, he anticipates that if everything else goes smoothly, the district would be able to have the truck in-house within the next couple of weeks.

To participate in the meeting, click here or call 1-657-845-2546 and use the Pin #: 338-576-372#.