HESPERIA • Last fall, Hesperia cut its firefighting force by nine. But this summer, that force will grow by three during the height of fire season.
Historically, three Cal Fire firefighters, along with a fire engine, have worked out of Station 305, which was built to accommodate future growth on the western end of Hesperia and in the Oak Hills area.
This year, however, San Bernardino County firefighters may be taking Cal Fire's usual spot.
Either way, the extra firefighters are a bargain, according to Hesperia City Manager Mike Podegracz.
"The cost of housing them, which is mainly utilities, is offset because we get about 30 days of (work)" from the firefighters, Podegracz said.
Last year, the Cal Fire firefighters provided 31 days of in-kind service in the Hesperia area.
On April 17, the Hesperia City Council directed Podegracz to speak to Cal Fire about other possible locations they could be housed within city limits — otherwise, the firefighters could end up being stationed in Phelan, likely too far away to render much aid in Hesperia during the hot, dry summer months.
Hesperia would still get weed-clearing services from the county crew, though, according to Podegracz.
Plus there's no guarantee that the extra county or Cal Fire firefighters could battle many Hesperia blazes anyway.
"In both cases, it was provided they were available," Podegracz said. "If the county was burning all summer, they wouldn't be available."
Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.