Friday, June 22 , 2018, 8:45 pm | Fair 61º


Local News

Santa Barbara Renews Wildland Fire Suppression Assessment District

The Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously this week to renew an annual wildland fire suppression fee assessed on properties in high-fire-danger areas within the city. 

Tuesday's vote was 5-0, with Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon recusing herself because she lives in the city's Foothill Zone.

The fee for single-family homes in the Foothill Zone will be $82.20 and $101.93 per single family home in the Extreme Foothill Zone.

"Since 2006, its services have been really valuable in increasing homeowner awareness of the threat wildfire poses to their property and also provides programs to reduce the threat and impacts that wildfires have themselves in the city of Santa Barbara," said Chris Braden, a fire services specialist for the city. 

The fee will help pay for a variety of services, including:

Vegetation Road Clearance: Every year, the assessment pays for 14 miles of road clearance in the city's Foothill and Extreme Foothill Zones

Defensible Space Inspection and Assistance: Provides assistance to property owners in creating defensible space around their homes. The assessment also provides chipping services to residents after the vegetation has been cut. 

Vegetation Management: Firefighting crews will remove flammable vegetation in open land outside of property owner’s defensible space.

The Wildland Fire Assessment terms allow for the fee to rise with the Consumer Price Index, in an amount not to exceed 4 percent per year. This year's increase was 3.60 percent.

The fee is expected to generate $272,404 for 2019. The tax will be levied on people's property tax bills. 

"If we get more rain, that would mean more vegetation to clear, we hope we get more rain, but that may impact your program," said Mayor Cathy Murillo.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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