MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) The Monterey City Council announced that it has approved the purchase of a new wildland fire engine ahead of what is projected to be a busy wildfire season.
The Monterey Fire Department said it got a Type 3 wildland engine using a grant from the Fort Ord Reuse Authority about 17 years ago, but the normal lifespan for these types of fire engines is about 15 years.
Around the state, there have been longer and more destructive wildfires for several years, according to the City, and wildland engines are used for mutual aid. When the fire department sends resources for mutual aid, the City is reimbursed for the cost of staff and use of vehicles. Over the past seven years, the City said reimbursements have totaled almost $575,000, and most of that has gone to the City's Equipment Replacement Fund.
At a recent City Council meeting, the council approved the use of $410,000 to buy a new Type 3 wildland engine using the Equipment Replacement Fund. The existing one will remain in the fleet.
“There are many timely bonuses to obtaining this important firefighting apparatus,” said Monterey Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer. “The engine’s specifications meet the CAL FIRE standards, which also means parts and service will be readily available, and it was already in production but not yet purchased so we are able to get it as soon as this July.”
In April, the fire department also got two new fire engines that were approved by the City Council last year to replace engines that the city has used for more than 20 years. The city says the new engines have more modern safety features. The fire department also recently added two new water tank engines.
The City reports that the state and Central Coast are experiencing record-breaking dry vegetation, and Cal Fire has reported a 700% increase in the number of acres that have burned this year compared to this time last year.
“We all remember the lightning storms last summer that triggered numerous wildfires, disrupting lives, causing significant evacuations and property damage," said City Manager Hans Uslar. "We are making sure we continue to be equipped locally to protect our communities, and also statewide, should other agencies need our help."