Many California counties are currently challenged with providing an adequate, sustainable and cost-effective regional level of fire and emergency services. 

Amidst the combination of recent fiscal constraints and major firestorms that have swept through California in recent years, this is no easy mission. 

The issue grows in complexity as each fire agency within a county faces its own unique fiscal, governance and deployment response challenges.  With so many agencies and variables to consider, designing a regional plan to improve fire and emergency service delivery for any county is difficult.

To address these challenges, the counties of San Diego and El Dorado have separately hired Citygate Associates, LLC, an experienced fire and EMS consulting firm, to develop a plan to improve their regional response systems. 

San Diego County is comprised of 54 total fire agencies.  El Dorado County is comprised of 14 total fire agencies and is represented through the El Dorado LAFCO. 

Both counties hired Citygate to identify current levels of service, available revenue, and actionable recommendations to achieve desired future service levels. An important outcome for both studies will be designing an interactive GIS tool that will permit cities and other fire agencies to model the impact of increasing or decreasing services. 

In addition to these challenges, each of these separate agencies comes to the table with a different organizational history, service topography and mix of career and volunteer staffing.  Citygate’s team is able to work through this milieu and develop realistic policy choices.

These studies will also provide fire agencies with useful information in understanding and improving cooperative arrangements such as mutual aid and the regional impact of fire station location decisions.

Ultimately, both counties desire a plan to bolster day-to-day operations for local agencies and enhance the delivery of fire and emergency services in their county-wide regions. 

James Spencer can be contacted at