SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) today expressed his concerns regarding Governor Brown’s 2012-2013 state budget proposal that slashes fire protection funding for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“As we near the 5th anniversary of the devastating Angora Fire that ravaged the Lake Tahoe area leaving destruction in its wake, I am baffled by the Governor’s decision to put lives and property in even more danger by cutting fire protection funding for the region.”

The Governor’s proposed budget eliminates the entire $2.3 million General Fund monies for Lake Tahoe Basin fire protection, and leaves only one forester and four part-time seasonal forestry aids to provide fire prevention services such as defensible space inspections and enforcement.

Residents will continue to have some fire protection services through local fire districts. If these cuts are implemented, however, resources could be stretched thin and emergency response times could be delayed. As witnessed with the Angora Fire, every second counts in containing potential wildfires.

Lake Tahoe fire safety officials also expressed concern with the lack of funding and vowed to work with Senator Gaines on the issue.

“I would like to thank Senator Gaines for his leadership on this critical public safety matter,” said North Tahoe Fire District Chief Duane Whitelaw. “We are equally troubled by this latest cut to the vital fire protection services we provide the community and will do all we can to reverse this budget decision.”

Senator Gaines intends to follow up on this matter until funding and the safety and protection of the residents of Lake Tahoe is fully restored and encourages people to contact the Governor’s office to express their discontent with his proposed cuts.

“One of the essential services government should provide its citizens is public safety,” said Gaines. “We need to seriously evaluate things when we’ve reached a point where we can’t even provide that peace of mind to residents. If you are as upset about this budget decision as I am, I urge you to call Governor Brown and ask him for reconsideration.”

The Governor’s office can be reached at 916-445-2841.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento and Sierra counties.