fire fee

Megafires Don't Melt Opposition To California Fire Fee

Sep 17, 2015
Mike McMillan / US Forest Service

Rural Californians are reeling from yet another destructive fire season.

But that doesn’t mean they now support a controversial fire fee imposed several years ago by legislative Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown. Chris Nichols reports from Sacramento.

Bags stuffed with Betsy Miller’s family photos and quilting fabric sit ready to go in her Sierra foothills home. Miller and her husband, Les, are retirees who live in Amador County. The Butte Fire forced them to evacuate last week. Now, they’re back home. But they’re not unpacking.

Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

For the second year in a row, California is charging rural homeowners a special fee for fire protection. The bills are coming a bit later than planned, but they are on their way. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the fee's critics are as angry as ever and still hope to overturn it.

California is sending out about 800,000 bills beginning this month. The annual $150 charge is assessed to property owners with homes on land the state is responsible for protecting.

Cal Fire

The state of California is putting a temporary halt to sending out new bills to some rural homeowners in the enforcement of a controversial fire prevention fee.

The delay comes as CAL Fire is sorting through a backlog of thousands of appeals from mostly foothill and mountain residents. The state was planning to send out another round of bills in April.

Some 87,000 residents have already appealed the fee. It's unclear when the state will clear the backlog in appeals and send out new bills.