Nevada County, September 16, 2022 — On September 7, a new committee consisting of board members from both districts officially launched a feasibility study, taking the first step toward consolidating the two adjacent fire districts. During the first meeting, areas of concern were outlined, a mission statement was adopted, and a goal was set to complete the feasibility study by July 1, 2023. It was also agreed that no final decisions would be made without extensive community engagement and feedback.

Rough and Ready Fire Department currently responds to many Penn Valley emergencies as the closest resource available. With the Rough and Ready Fire Department now staffed part-time, this impacts Penn Valley Fire Protection District’s (PVFPD) response and the overall safety of residents in the entire region. It is the goal of both agencies to guarantee 24/7 coverage to 100% of the current residents in the Penn Valley and Rough and Ready footprint. The newly formed committee is exploring the specifics of how this can be achieved and will seek community feedback on how to best move forward.

“This is an exciting time for our area. We have leadership from both districts coming to the table, rolling up their sleeves, and getting to work on figuring this out. It needs to be a win across the board for all our residents and firefighters, now and well into the future,” says committee member and Penn Valley Fire District Board Vice Chairman Terry McMahan. “It won’t be easy, but I’m encouraged to see many stepping up to respond to our current situation and build a sustainable plan,” adds Tom Nelson, Rough & Ready Vice Chairperson.

On September 13, the Rough and Ready Fire Board named current Penn Valley Fire Chief Don Wagner as Operational Chief for Rough and Ready Fire. In this role, he will oversee daily operations and staff management and advise the committee on how to streamline administration and improve regional emergency coverage. “In 1996, when I started, we took about 650 calls a year. Now we are looking at over 1700 per year. This job has changed, and our agencies need to adapt to meet the need. We know this is a big concern for our residents, and we hope they become part of the solution by providing feedback. Right now, however, we want to stress that services will not be interrupted in either district.”

Oversight of the committee will be conducted by Nevada County Board of Supervisors Representative Sue Hoek and Local Area Formation Council Executive S.R. Jones, with final approval by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

“I’m inspired by the commitment of everyone involved. It is a complex problem that requires methodical review, and we want everyone impacted to be part of the process. We hope folks will consider joining the regular board meetings, and we will be planning town halls in 2023 to gather additional feedback,” adds Sue Hoek.

Regular board meetings:

Penn Valley Board Meetings
1st Tuesday of every month
Station 43
10513 Spenceville Rd, Penn Valley, CA 95946
6:30 pm

Rough and Ready Board Meeting
2nd Tuesday of every month
Rough and Ready Firehouse
14506 Rough and Ready Hwy, Rough and Ready, CA 95975
6:30 pm

Complete List of Committee Members:

Bruce Stephenson, Penn Valley Chairperson Committee spokesperson:

Tom Nelson, Rough & Ready Vice Chairperson

Terry McMahan, Penn Valley Director

Doug Wittler, Rough & Ready Director

Committee Advisors:

Don Wagner, Penn Valley Fire Chief

Sue Hoek, Nevada County Supervisor District 4

S.R. Jones, Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) Executive Officer