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Rural fire district rejects county funding to maintain independence

JULIAN, Calif. -- Big changes are on the way for the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District and the rural community it serves.  

The fire district board decided Tuesday to decline a consolidation proposal from San Diego County Fire Department and to remain independent.  The decision came down to a 4 to 1 vote during a meeting with the board at the Woman’s Club in Julian.  

Since entering an agreement in 2006, the volunteer fire department made up of about 20 men and women has received assistance totaling about $1.5 million from the county. However, the Cuyamaca-Julian community had qualms about the proposal to dissolve its fire district and become a member of the County’s regional protection system. The majority of board members feared losing local control.  

“Not only are we a half hour or more away from any kind of support up here, when you have a massive catastrophe such as the Cedar Fire, there are lots of demands on the system for help, and often times we feel forgotten,” said Bill Everett a retired Volunteer firefighter with the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Department.  

In a statement to FOX 5, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob responded, saying: 

 “The county has provided substantial resources when Julian was in need of help and when it signed an agreement to consolidate with the County Fire Authority. I’ve always said Julian has the final say on this issue, and it has opted to step away from county funding and the fire authority.”

 Changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.