Churchill County Commissioners took out some insurance to cover the potential for wildland fire Thursday morning during their regularly scheduled meeting.
Commissioners agreed to join the Nevada Division of Forestry’s Department of Conversation and Natural Resources Wildland Fire Protection Program contract with a two-year contract that will assist the county in fire fighting costs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015.
Rich Harvey, deputy state forester for the Nevada Division of Forestry, informed commissioners participation in the program allows the state to provide financial assistance with wildland fire suppression costs, as well as other emergency situations.
“Participating in this program allows the State of Nevada to step in and assist the county with any wildland fire suppression costs,” Harvey said. “The second thing we want to do with this program, it also enables the state to assist counties with other emergency situations that threaten life and property.
He added that the Division of Forestry has other assets such as conservation camp crews, helicopters, fire engines, heavy equipment that would be available to assist the county.
The cost of participation in the program is $25,000 per year. The funding source is the fire department’s budget for contracted services.
Agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, at the present time, bill the county for the expenses of fighting wildland fires on its land, explained Fred Rogne, fire chief of the Fallon/Churchill Fire Department.
“We don’t use them that often, but if we do or they are called, we are definitely get billed,” Rogne said.
Commission Chairman Carl Erquiaga observed the program operates like an insurance policy.
“In your opinion, what would you do? You’re an insurance guy and a fire guy … I’ll go for this if you feel it’s worthwhile,” Commissioner Pete Olsen asked Rogne.
“I think it’s worth doing,” Rogne replied. “At this time, $25,000 is a pretty good deal, I think. One big fire and BLM comes in, $25,000 would be the minimum.”
Harvey added that the cost of a wildland fire that extends over multiple days could cost more than $1 million.
“You can spend a lot of money in a short period of time,” he added.
Commissioners also discussed or took action on the following items:
Approved renewal of a Churchill County school bus lease for the Parks and Recreation Department SUMFUN program.
One vacant full-time Court Services specialist position will be filled with two part-time positions. The motion approved by commissioners, however, calls for one position to be filled immediately, with the understanding that a request to fill the other position may be considered at a later date to ensure adequate coverage is available to performed duties required seven days a week.
Accepted a recommendation from the Insurance Advisory Committee to renew the health insurance plan for county employees and retirees during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Approved reappointment of Jesse Lattin to a three-year term on the Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife. Peggy Hughes submitted the other application for the position.
Approved Resolution 16-2013 to support Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week (May 4-11).
Approved the fourth quarter installment of $6,250 allocated to the Churchill Animal Protection Society for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Approved Amendment Three to the Encroachment Protection Agreement between the county and Naval Air Station Fallon.
Approved an agreement with KDH Builders for wastewater, water connections and fees for the Onda Verde I subdivision.