Congress has set aside $18 million to rebuild a US Forest Service fire station that was destroyed in the Dolan Fire in the Los Padres National Forest in Southern California in 2020.
The fire had been burning for weeks. The night before it reached Nacimiento station on Nacimiento-Fergusson Road 7 miles from the California coast highway on September 8, 2020, the fire ran for about three miles toward the station, burning 30,000 acres with spot fires three-quarters of a mile ahead. The fire personnel at the station during the burnover included two USFS engine crews, two dozers with operators, and the only Division supervisor working the night shift due to a shortage of personnel.
Below is an aerial photo of the Nacimiento guard station taken almost exactly two years before the burnover.
Fifteen firefighters deployed into only 13 fire shelters. Four were injured and three were hospitalized. One had very serious burns.
The Forest Service will use the funding to replace the fire station, barracks, engine garage, and pumphouse, as well as a water well, solar connections, and access roads.
These funds were provided as Supplemental Disaster Funding through the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act of 2021. The disaster assistance funding is a share of the $1.36 billion of supplemental appropriations provided to the Forest Service.
The federal government balked at paying for treatment for injuries to one of the firefighters
According to The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, California, one of the firefighters severly injured in the burn over is still dealing with not only his on-the-job injuries, but attempting to get the government to pay for his treatment:
Casey Allen said Monday that healing from his second- and third-degree burns is continuing, with only a few small wounds left on his ankles, and his Achilles tendon on his right foot is almost completely healed.
However, the news about Allen’s injured left hand wasn’t as good: Doctors may have to amputate his ring and pinkie fingers.
He credited U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal and his district representative Wendy Motta with finally breaking a stubborn repayment logjam so Allen and his wife Tina, who he called “my rock,” could be repaid for money they had to pay out of pocket toward his recovery.
Mr. Allen’s fiancée at the time set up a GoFundMe account for him. She wrote, “He will need hospital services for the next year at a minimum.”
Mr. Allen is suffering one of the ultimate indignities — being severely injured in a life-changing on-the-job incident, and your employer, the U.S. government, is balking at stepping up and providing the payment for your desperately needed medical treatment. The Office of Workers Compensation needs to be funded adequately by Congress so it can rebuild its staff and respond PROMPTLY to situations like this.