Home Local & Regional News San Diego Fires Emphasize Fairground’s Community Role

San Diego Fires Emphasize Fairground’s Community Role

Getting fresh supplies at the Rush Fire camp
Getting fresh supplies at the Rush Fire camp

A Letter from Lassen County Fair Manager Jim Wolcott
photos by Melissa Blosser

Our hearts go out to the people of San Diego and the team at the county fairgrounds – only 20 days from fair time and hundreds of evacuated animals are arriving at their fair for shelter. This year is especially noteworthy in that California is a virtual tinderbox due to the worst drought on record.

In times of wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters, The Lassen County fairgrounds and 75 others, serve as sanctuaries for residents, pets and livestock.

They also form command centers for such emergency personnel as firefighters, Red Cross volunteers, police, paramedics and other public safety officials.

Our local fair grounds serve as an Office of Emergency Services facility, a fire camp, and are available to the public for emergencies involving livestock in need of rescue services; however, this is not easy to do. All fairs, including ours, gave up 100 percent of their state support in 2011 at the height of the economic crisis. Now, many fairs are struggling to maintain their infrastructure.

Inside Jensen Hall operations and command infrastructure maintains the business of a wildfire

With no legislative support, we are struggling to maintain our local facilities to ensure these services be available in the future.

We are blessed to have leaders in within our community who recognize the value of our fairgrounds. I have been especially impressed with our local Lassen County Board of Supervisors and state elected officials like Assemblymen Brian Dahle and Assembly Representative Ted Gaines, who grasp the quiet, but vital role we play in our community.

Most recently, many have stepped up to the plate in support of an effort to restore critical funding to repair the aging infrastructure at California fairgrounds, and a bi-partisan group of 31 other California legislators are making it a priority to invest in repairing and upgrading severely neglected infrastructure.

From plumbing and electrical projects to repairs of grandstands and water conservation projects, there is no shortage of fairground needs. And, with the Governor’s recent good news about the surplus of state funds, serious consideration should now be given to repairing infrastructure at California’s fairgrounds.

Locally, we ask our community to support this legislation so we can be here when you need us. We are a vital part of this community and will be in times of emergency. We need to be prepared to offer services as needed and our infrastructure is an integral part of those services. We are here when you need us, please be there for us.

Jim Wolcott
Lassen County Fair Manager

Getting provisions ready to distribute among the firefighters at the fairgrounds

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