The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (abbreviated Cal Fire and styled CAL FIRE; formerly abbreviated CDF) is the State of California's agency responsible for fire protection in State Responsibility Areas of California totaling 31 million acres, as well as the administration of the state's private and public forests. In addition, the Department provides varied emergency services in 36 of the State's 58 counties via contracts with local governments. It is often called the California Department of Forestry, which was the name of the department before the 1990s.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is also the largest full service all risk fire department in the Western United States and operates more fire stations year round than the New York (FDNY), Los Angeles (LAFD), and Chicago (CFD) fire departments combined. It is also the second largest municipal fire department in the United States, behind only the New York Fire Department.
Cal Fire is a department of the California Natural Resources Agency, a state cabinet-level department that is comprised, in part, of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Department of Water Resources. The department is responsible for the fire protection and stewardship of over 31 million acres of California's privately owned wildlands. In addition, the Department provides varied emergency services in 36 of the State's 58 counties via contracts with local governments.
The Department's firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more than 5,600 wildland fires each year. Those fires burn more than 172,000 acres annually. Along with over 350,000 annual calls for service, only 2% of which are wildland fires. Cal Fire also uses inmate handcrews in conjunction with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to assist with fire suppression and logistics. Cal Fire works with employees of the California Conservation Corps for logistics and vegetation management. Programs to control wood boring insects and diseases of trees are under forestry programs managed by Cal Fire. The vehicle fleet is managed from an office in Davis, California. The Department's Director is Ken Pimlott, who was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.
Cal Fire operations can be viewed as fitting into two categories: Schedule "A" and Schedule "B". Schedule "B" is defined as Resources Agency/Cal Fire-funded, it is the wildland side of Cal Fire primarily responsible for protecting the SRA. Schedule "A" activities include county and municipal fire departments, as well as fire protection districts run by Cal Fire under contracts with local governments. From north to south, Butte, Napa, San Mateo, Tuolumne, Merced, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, and San Diegocounties are examples of county fire departments operated by Cal Fire under contract.
The primary job of Cal Fire is to provide fire protection for the State Responsibility Area or SRA. SRA lands are defined by the Public Resource Code of the state first, as, "covered wholly or in part by forests or by trees producing or capable of producing forest products. Second, they are "those covered wholly or in part by timber, brush, undergrowth, or grass, whether of commercial value or not, which protect the soil from excessive erosion, retard runoff of water or accelerate water percolation, if such lands are sources of water which is available for irrigation or for domestic or industrial use." Finally, they are "lands in areas which are principally used or useful for range or forage purposes, which are contiguous to" the lands described above. The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection determines what lands are included in the SRA and their decisions have the force of law. (California Public Resource Code Section 4126)
Cal Fire resources are available to federal, state and local agencies for all disaster related incidents such as floods and other weather related situations. Bulldozers and inmate handcrews are often very valuable for protecting lives and property. Inmate crews are also available these agencies for construction and maintenance projects. These resources come with a complete supervision, command and logistical organization that is among the nation's best.
Starting on January 24, 2007, CDF has changed its "informal" name to Cal Fire. The purpose of the name change was to more accurately represent the all risk nature of the department. ()
Firefighters employed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are represented by IAFF affiliate, Cal Fire Local 2881, which represents 4,000 members within Cal Fire Local 2881 and is also associated with the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF).
The largest and most visible part of CDF operations is fire suppression. Operations are divided into 21 Operational Units, which geographically follow county lines. Each unit consists of the area of one to three counties. Operational Units are grouped under two regions: Coast-Cascade and Sierra-South.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is part of CDF and oversees activities including fire prevention, regulation of fire safety, and pipeline safety. All gas cans sold in California, for example, must be approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and marked with the Office's seal.
Cal Fire owns and operates its own fleet of air tankers, tactical aircraft and helicopters, which are managed under the Aviation Management Program, additional aviation resources are leased by the department when needed. The Cal Fire Air Program is one of the largest non-military air programs in the country, consisting of 23 Grumman S-2T 1,200 gallon airtankers, 14 OV-10A airtactical aircraft and 12 UH-1H Super Huey helicopters. From the 13 air attack and 10 helitack bases located statewide, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes.
A statewide Cal Fire training academy is operated at Ione, east of Sacramento. The facility is contiguous to Mule Creek State Prison. All Cal Fire employees go through the Cal Fire academy once they are promoted past the Firefighter I classification.
Operational units are organizations designed to address fire suppression over a geographic area. They vary widely in size and terrain.
For example, Lassen-Modoc-Plumas Operational Unit encompasses three ruralcounties and consists of eight fire stations, one Helitack Base, three conservation camps and an inmate firefighter training center. Fire suppression resources include 13 front-line fire engines, 1 helicopter, 3 bulldozers and 14 inmate fire crews. The unit shares an interagency emergency command center with federal agencies including the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. An interagency center contributes to economies of scale, supports cooperation, and lends itself to a more seamless operation. The area has fragmented jurisdictions across a large rural area along the Nevada and Oregon state lines.
Riverside Operational Unit by itself is one of the largest fire departments in the nation, with 95 fire stations and about 230 pieces of equipment. The Riverside Operational Unit operates the Riverside County Fire Department under contract as well operates eighteen city fire departments and one community services district fire department. Nine of these stations belong to the state, with rest owned by the respective local government entity. The unit operates its own emergency command center in Perris. Terrain served includes urban and suburban areas of the Inland Empire and communities in the metropolitan Palm Springs area. The area includes forested mountains, the Colorado River basin, the Mojave Desert and Interstate 10.
- Amador-El Dorado Unit - AEU / 2700 (Including Sacramento and Alpine Counties)
- Butte Unit - BTU / 2100
- Humboldt-Del Norte Unit - HUU / 1200
- Lassen-Modoc-Plumas Unit - LMU / 2200 (Including Plumas County as of June 2008)
- Mendocino Unit - MEU / 1100
- Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit - NEU / 2300 (Including Sutter and Sierra Counties)
- San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit - CZU / 1700
- Santa Clara Unit - SCU / 1600 (including Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara and parts of San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties)
- Shasta-Trinity Unit - SHU / 2400
- Siskiyou Unit - SKU / 2600
- Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit - LNU / 1400 (including: Solano, Yolo, Colusa Counties)
- Tehama-Glenn Unit - TGU / 2500
- Fresno-Kings Unit - FKU / 4300
- Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit - MMU / 4200
- Riverside Unit -RRU / 3100
- San Benito-Monterey Unit - BEU/ 4600
- San Bernardino Unit - BDU / 3500 (Including Inyo and Mono Counties)
- San Diego Unit -MVU / 3300 (Including Imperial County)
- San Luis Obispo Unit - SLU / 3400
- Tulare Unit - TUU / 4100
- Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit - TCU / 4400 (Including portions of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Alpine counties)
The counties of Marin (MRN), Kern (KRN), Santa Barbara (SBC), Ventura (VNC), Los Angeles (LAC) and Orange (ORC) are paid by Cal Fire to provide fire protection to state responsibility areas within those counties rather than Cal Fire providing direct fire protection, and are commonly known as the "Contract Counties".
Lawmakers in Sacramento have mandated that every Operational Unit develop and implement an annual fire management plan. The plan will develop cooperation and community programs to reduce damage from, and costs of, fires in California. One metric used by fire suppression units is initial attack success: fires stopped by the initial resources, (equipment and people,) sent to the incident.
Main article: CDF Aviation Management Program
The Cal Fire Aviation Management Program is a branch of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Due to the frequency and severity of wildfires in California, the state has elected to establish its own aerial firefighting force rather than rely solely on national resources. The Aviation Management Program is based at McClellan Airfield near Sacramento, California.
In support of its ground forces, Cal Fire emergency response air program includes 23 Grumman S-2T 1,200 gallon air-tankers, twelve UH-1H Super Huey helicopters, and 14 OV-10A air-tactical aircraft. These aircraft are stationed at 13 air attack and ten helitack bases located statewide, and can reach most fires within 20 minutes. During high fire activity, Cal Fire may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.
The air-tactical planes fly overhead at a fire, directing the air-tankers and helicopters to critical areas of the fire for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent. While both air tankers and helicopters are equipped to carry fire retardant or water, the helicopters can also transport firefighters, equipment and injured personnel. The average annual budget of the Cal Fire Aviation Management Program is nearly $20 million. A total of 18 Cal Fire personnel oversee the program with an additional 130 contract employees providing mechanical, pilot and management services.
Cal Fire has contracted with 10 Tanker Air Carrier for three years' of exclusive use of their McDonnell Douglas DC-10 "super tanker" known as Tanker 910, at a cost of $5 million per year. Additional access is also provided to Tanker 911 and Tanker 912. In 2014 "Tanker 910" was retired and the company operates 2 other DC-10 "Super Tankers", Tanker 911 and 912 
On October 7, 2014, a Cal Fire S-2T air tanker crashed while fighting the Dog Rock Fire in Yosemite National Park. The pilot was killed.
Cal Fire uses various apparatus to accomplish their daily responses. Engines fall under two categories, either being state-owned — mostly wildland, or city/county owned, which Cal Fire operates under contract.
For the wildland portion, most engines are manufactured with West-Mark or Westates (now American Truck & Fire Apparatus) bodies on an International chassis. Commonly seen models of wildland engines include the Model 5, 9, 14, and 15. CDF Models 24 and 25 were test-bed models, with only a few of each model fielded. The newest versions of these engines are CDF model 34 (4WD) and 35 (2WD), manufactured by Placer Fire Equipment, Rosenbauer, and HME. Model 34/35's are currently being fielded statewide. As of 2009 Model 35's have been discontinued and Model 34's from HME Apparatus are the new standard. Fact sheets on all of Cal Fire's current-service Type 3 (wildland) engine models can be found on the Cal Fire Web site under Mobile Equipment.
Type-3 Wildland Engine, CDF Model 14
Type-3 Wildland Engine, CDF Model 5
Type-3 Wildland Engine, CDF Model 34
Smeal Type-1 Municipal Engine, owned by San Luis Obispo County and operated by CDF under contract
Mobile Communications Centers
Cal Fire’s Mobile Communications Centers (MCC) are a rapid response mobile emergency incident communications system. Six Cal Fire MCC are located throughout the state. The MCC provides a variety of incident communication support functions. Dispatchers monitor incident radio traffic and communicate with personnel on the incident as well as communicating and coordinating with the Emergency Command Center of the local administrative unit. Inside the MCC there is a general work area with computer workstations, amateur radio (HAM) operator stations, and audiovisual equipment. The MCC is the hub for communications activity at an emergency incident. It has satellite phone capabilities for those incidents where phone coverage is not available due to remoteness or catastrophic loss of phone service. It provides access to televised weather conditions and local news reports. It also serves as the cache for additional portable radios that are often needed at a large or complex incident.
CDF uses several enterprise IT systems to manage operations. Altaris CAD, a computer-assisted dispatch system made by Northrop Grumman, is employed by each unit's Emergency Command Center (ECC) to track available resources and assignments. Each Operational Unit has a stand-alone system which includes detailed address and mapping information. Information about fires is batch-uploaded into a statewide statistical analysis system which is used to drive improvements to fire suppression and prevention. Resource Ordering Status System is used to cooperatively manage equipment and staff from other agencies at campaign-type fires.
The three largest state government land-mobile radio systems would include California Highway Patrol, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Any of these three systems might be considered largest depending on what constitutes the factors of "largest." If some combination of the number of mobiles, overall number of transmitters, total number of users, annual number of incidents, number of radio transmissions carried, or geographic area served were considerations, one of these three would be largest.
CDF is a major user on the State of California, Department of General Services, Public Safety Microwave Network (PSMN). The network is used for the state's Green Phone telephone network, a telephone system used for communications between public safety agencies. The system primarily serves state agencies. Intercoms between ECCs use audio paths supported by microwave radio. These intercoms usually appear as circuits on communications consoles in dispatching centers.
Aircraft are a prominent feature of CDF, especially during the summer fire season. Both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft are employed. Helicopters, or rotary-wing aircraft, are used to transport firefighting "Helitack Crews" into fire areas. They also drop water and retardant chemicals on fires. Fixed-wing aircraft are used for command, observation, and to drop retardant chemicals on fires.
Telecom history circa 1970
As of the early 1970s, CDF systems used VHF "high band" (151 MHz repeater/159 MHz mobile) stand-alone repeaters on State of California communications sites. CDF was an early adopter of walkie-talkies (hand-held radios), but the radios did not perform to modern public safety system standards. The systems served their purpose, but were not originally engineered for hand-held coverage because of the enormous operating areas, the difficult terrain, and the lack of infrastructure to support a complex system. Sites had commercial power, but many lacked reliable telephone lines or microwave radio connectivity. In terms of geography, CDF served mostly rural areas and the radio repeater sites to cover these areas were located in remote wildland. Voting was in its infancy and, in CDF repeater systems, was unheard-of. Users understood this and used radios in clever ways. For example, if an engine arriving at a fire could not find a spot where they had a radio path to reach dispatch, they would call another engine that could communicate and ask the staff to relay their message. The unit might see if they could get through by switching to an alternate channel, such as State net, which had repeaters at different sites, and consequently, a different coverage area.
The smallest geographic division of CDF Fire is the Operational Unit. Examples of Operational Units are Lassen-Modoc Operational Unit and Tuolumne-Calaveras Operational Unit. Operational Units are named for counties served. In the 1970s Operational Units were referred to as Ranger Units. Ranger Units were grouped into six CDF Regions, which may have been called "Districts" in earlier years. Radios were configured in a hierarchy with channel selections for Local (serving a Ranger Unit), District/Region, and State nets. By switching to the "State" channel, any two CDF radios statewide could communicate. Fire units from different Ranger Units but within the same district or region could communicate on the "Region" channel.
1970s CDF systems used single tone or tone burst to select repeaters. The system had five tones statewide, allowing up to five repeaters in overlapping radio coverage areas on the same channel. Tones used, in order from tone 1 through 5, were: 1,800 Hz, 1,950 Hz, 2,200 Hz, 2,400 Hz and 2,552 Hz. Station ringdowns and some volunteer sirens were actuated using a Motorola selective calling scheme called Quik Call I.
During the conversion from tone burst to Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS) in the early 1980s, Department of General Services (DGS) technicians modified repeaters to work with either burst tones or sub-audible CTCSS tones. This allowed repeaters to be used with either type of signaling as the tone burst mobiles were swapped out for newer models.
Like most State equipment, CDF used a mix of radios from several manufacturers varying from one contract bid to the next. Scanning, selectable tone burst, six-channel transmit, and three-channel receive were beyond the capabilities of most off-the-shelf mobile radios in 1970. Custom-made General Electric MASTR Professional hybrid tube/solid state mobiles were bought in one early 1970s contract. CDF was an early adopter of scanning; this radio incorporated General Electric's scanning feature, called Priority Search Lock Monitor. Many of the CDF repeaters in service in 2009 are GE/MA-COM Mastr III synthesized base stations.
In the 1970s, at least some CDF repeaters were RCA Series 1000 units. These had solid state receivers and exciters with continuous duty tube final power amplifiers. They produced transmitter output powers in the range of 100-120 watts.
The earliest fully solid state mobile radios were used in the CTCSS conversion. They were 99-channel Midland radios. An early 1980s discovery was that users had to carry cards with lists of the channels. The radios had many channels and no alphanumeric display describing to whom one would talk when the display said channel "65", for example. The Midland mobiles used flat, computer-hard-disk-style ribbon cable to connect the control head on the vehicle dashboard with the radio unit drawer. To improve reliability, some units used segments of discarded inch-and-a-half fire hose as a jacket to protect the easily abraded ribbon cable.
Since the early 2000s[update], radio equipment in use is the Kenwood TK-790 mobile radio with a CDF-custom firmware package giving 254-channel capability, plus the ability to create a "command group" for incident frequency management in one bank. Bendix-King GPH-CMD portable radios (HT's) give the same functionality in a 500-channel handheld. All older mobile and portable radios, including older Bendix-King EPH portables, either have been or are in process of being phased out, due to the pending requirement for all public safety radio nets to be narrow-banded.
Hearing a distant voice from a radio loudspeaker, it was unclear what path the caller was using to reach you. This was especially true of dispatch consoles, which routed audio from many channels to one or two loudspeakers. Radio protocol provided that users announce which channel and tone they were using in order that the called party would answer on the same channel and tone. A typical transmission where an engine was calling, preparing to tell something to dispatch, might be phrased, "San Andreas, Engine Forty Four Sixty Six, Local Net, Tone One." This cued the San Andreas dispatcher to manually select Local, Tone One or L1 to answer.
To enforce state fire and forest laws, Cal Fire law enforcement officers are trained and certified in accordance with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Over 300 department's officers are investigating fire causes, interviewing witnesses, issuing citations and setting up surveillance operations. Additionally, law enforcement staff provides assistance when requested by local fire and law enforcement agencies in arson, bomb, fireworks, and fire extinguisher investigations, as well as disposal of explosives. Office of the State Fire Marshal Arson and Bomb Specialists provide fire and bomb investigation services to state-owned facilities, and provide assistance to local government fire and law agencies.
The Cal Fire executive staff includes the following individuals.
- Director: Ken Pimlott
- Chief Deputy Director: Janet Barentson
- State Fire Marshal: Dennis Mathisen
- Deputy Director, Fire Protection: Dave Teter
- ^ ab"CALFIRE at a Glance"(PDF). CALFIRE. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
- ^Shoop, Chelsey (2007-01-02). "CDF changes its name to CAL-FIRE". Paradise Post. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
- ^"Cal Fire: What's in a Name?"(PDF). Cal Fire. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
- ^"CAL FIRE — General History". Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- ^ abcState of California 1998 Telephone Directory, (Sacramento, California: State of California, Department of General Services, 1998).
- ^ abcFraser, Debbie, CDF Training and Academy Course Catalog, March 2006, (Ione, California: State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2006).
- ^minute 12:38 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oNdpgnjQS8
- ^Cdf Firefighters
- ^CPF - Home
- ^Welcome to IAFFonline!Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^CAL FIRE "Air Program" http://calfire.ca.gov/fire_protection/fire_protection_air_program.php
- ^Henson, C., Lassen-Modoc-Plumas Unit 2005 Fire Management Plan, (Susanville, California: State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2005).
- ^Gilbert, M., Riverside Unit 2005 Fire Management Plan, Perris, California: State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2005.
- ^California Public Resources Code, Sec. 4130.
- ^Gilbert, M., Riverside Unit 2005 Fire Management Plan, Perris, California: State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2005); California Public Resources Code, Sec. 4130.
- ^"Supertanker ready for summer of fighting California's fires", Inland Wildfires, June 14, 2007, accessed August 6, 2007
- ^Plane Crashes At Yosemite National Park During Fight Against Dog Rock Fire, KOVR-TV, October 7, 2014
- ^Santa Clara Unit 2005 Fire Management Plan, Morgan Hill, California: State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2005).
- ^Hemet-Ryan AAB Capital Outlay Project: Relocation Or Replacement Analysis, (Sacramento: State of California, Department Of General Services, Real Estate Services Division, Project Management Branch, 2005).
- ^General Electric no longer makes two-way radios under that name; the company is now known as the M/A-COM Critical Communications division of Tyco Electronics.
- ^California, State of. "CAL FIRE - Executive Staff". calfire.ca.gov. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
Menifee Fire Station No. 7 Fire Captain Alex Paul talks with his firefighters at their new station in Menifee Wednesday , January 31, 2018. FRANK BELLINO, For THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Firefighters at Menifee Fire Station No. 7 can enjoy their new gym at their new station in Menifee Wednesday , January 31, 2018. FRANK BELLINO, For THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Menifee Fire Station No. 7 Fire Captain Alex Paul talks with his firefighters at their new station in Menifee Wednesday , January 31, 2018. FRANK BELLINO, For THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Firefighters at Menifee Fire Station No. 7 can enjoy new living quarters at their new station in Menifee Wednesday , January 31, 2018. FRANK BELLINO, For THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Firefighters from Menifee Fire Station No. 7 clean their gear at their new station in Menifee Wednesday , January 31, 2018. FRANK BELLINO, For THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE/SCNG
Riverside County’s busiest fire station has just emerged from a major makeover.
Fire Station No. 7, built by the city of Menifee, recently reopened a half-mile down the street from the vacated station that formerly bore that name.
The gleaming $4.6 million firehouse is bigger in every way than its predecessor. Constructed on a lot double the size of the original, the station in Menifee’s Sun City community has more than twice as much building space and can accommodate three times as much staff.
And the firefighters love it.
“We went from a shared barracks to where we now have some more creature comforts, if you will,” Capt. Alex Paul said.
City officials say the makeover was overdue, given the station’s regional prominence.
“The older station was kind of small and insufficient for the amount of activity that No. 7 is responsible for,” Menifee Councilman Greg August said.
The age factor
Not to mention, said Mayor Neil Winter, the former station’s age. It was dedicated back in April 1972.
“We were living with an aging station over in the Sun City area for a long, long time,” Winter said.
And, yet, Fire Station No. 7 has repeatedly logged more emergency calls than any other in the system of nearly 100 stations operated by the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department, which provides fire protection and paramedic services in Riverside County’s unincorporated areas and most of its cities, including Menifee.
The Sun City station handled 6,380 calls last year, well more than the 4,909 fielded by the next-busiest station in Desert Hot Springs, according to county fire statistics. The 2017 volume represented a 4.1 percent increase from the 6,126 calls for service the year before.
Division Chief Geoff Pemberton said the reasons for the high volume are Sun City’s concentrated population and relatively high age. He said 63 percent of residents are at least 55 years old and 8 percent are 85 or older. The average age, he said, is 66.
Because older people tend to have more ailments than younger residents, they need help more often. And it shows.
In an era when technology and safety advances have dramatically reduced the number of fires, most calls everywhere these days aren’t about extinguishing fires but rescuing people from medical emergencies. But Sun City has more than its share of those types of calls.
Battalion Chief Joshua Bischof said medical aid requests account for 80 percent of calls countywide and 90 percent in Sun City.
That trend was at the forefront of planners’ minds when they designed the firehouse on Bradley Road, midway between Cherry Hills Boulevard and Augusta Drive. The station’s spacious two-bay garage has room not only for the traditional fire engine, but also for a new “paramedic patrol” truck.
The paramedic truck can roll out and give the fire engine a rest when a medical-aid call comes in. That helps, officials said, because the smaller truck is less expensive to operate and maintain, and requires less staff.
Two staffers are assigned to the truck: a firefighter/paramedic and an emergency medical technician, Pemberton said. That contrasts with the engine staffing of three professionals: a captain, engineer and firefighter.
“Most of the time the paramedic patrol is going to take the call,” he said.
Still, if the paramedic patrol truck is in the field, the fire engine will roll.
Fast response times
Bischof said it is helpful to have the flexibility the two vehicles bring. He said in time, that flexibility should translate into faster average responses. That’s because neighboring stations won’t have to send their fire trucks out as often, from farther away, when a Sun City vehicle is in the field.
For now, Bischof said, station firefighters respond to calls within five minutes on 68 percent of the time.
Dedicated in January, the decorative-stone and tile-roof firehouse features a standalone living quarters that houses up to nine people and a free-standing garage connected by a walkway, with a combined 8,173 square feet of space. It replaces a 3,500-square-foot facility at Bradley and McCall Boulevard that Winter said is being converted into a public works facility.
The firehouse is the first major building constructed by the young, fast-growing city of 90,000. Among the station’s creature comforts are an office, gym, commercial-size kitchen, dining room, living room, locker room and five bedrooms.
“The other one was a small office, bedroom and kitchen,” Pemberton said.
Riverside County’s 10 busiest fire stations
Based on 2017 calls in stations’ primary response areas.
- Menifee (Sun City), Station No. 7 — 6,380 calls
- Desert Hot Springs, Station No. 37 — 4,909 calls
- Palm Desert (North), Station No. 71 — 4,898 calls
- San Jacinto, Station No. 25 — 4,878 calls
- Moreno Valley (Towngate), Station No. 6 — 4,857 calls
- Moreno Valley (Sunnymead), Station No. 2 — 3,899 calls
- Beaumont, Station No. 20 — 3,786 calls
- Moreno Valley (Kennedy Park), Station No. 65 — 3,786 calls
- Indio, Station No. 86 — 3,607 calls
- North Bermuda Dunes, Station No. 81 — 3,074 calls
Source: Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department
Fire station No. 7 by the numbers
Land: 2.1 acres
Total building space: 8,173 square feet
Purpose: Sun City is the primary response area. The station also serves the communities of Romoland and Quail Valley and backs up neighboring stations.
Administrative/living quarters: 3,805 square feet. Can accommodate an eight-person crew. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a captain’s quarters, commercial-size kitchen, dining room, gym, lobby, garden. Space to deploy an emergency operations center.
Apparatus bay/garage: 4,368 square feet. Has two apparatus fire engine bays and a supply room. There is room for a third-bay expansion.
Building design: Single story, stucco walls, stone façade, clay tile roofing and window-covered, perched tower entrance. Incorporates several energy-efficiency features and is LEED certified.
Notable feature: When calls come in, instruments automatically shut off the kitchen’s gas stove and turn lights on in firefighter bedrooms.
Cost: Total project budget of $4.6 million, which included construction and land acquisition costs. Funded by developer impact fees.
Design/build team: R.I.C. Construction Co. and STK Architecture