The Environmental Protection Program provides support to the Technical Services Section in their effort to carry-out the Department's Capital Outlay Program. CAL FIRE operations are administered through the use of hundreds of different types of state-owned facilities which are located throughout California. These facilities include Forest Fire Stations, Region and Unit Headquarters, Training Centers, Emergency Command Centers, Air Attack Bases, Helitack Bases, Mobile Equipment Repair facilities, Fire Lookout Towers, Radio Towers and Communication Equipment, Nurseries, Conservation Camps, and a number of other kinds of compounds. More than half of the existing compounds were built during the 1950s and 60s and most of these buildings, structures, and appurtenances need to be repaired, rehabilitated or replaced. The Capital Outlay Program serves to improve the Department's aging infrastructure with upgraded facilities built to last at least 50 years. It is not uncommon, for example, to find a 1950s apparatus building with bays that are too small to house a modern fire engine. Typical barracks buildings at older facilities were constructed for all-male crews without accommodations currently needed to house and support both men and women firefighters. And, recent changes in fire and building codes specific to emergency service facilities require additional improvements to meet legal requirements.
Funding to carry out facility improvement projects comes from the Capital Outlay Budget Change Proposal process. Projects typically include: complete replacement at an existing site; acquisition of new property to construct a new facility; re-construction of one or two new buildings at an existing site; the replacement of potable water facilities; wastewater facilities and upgrading utilities. CAL FIRE's Technical Services Section works closely with staff from the Department of General Services to acquire property, develop plans, and complete construction. Funding for the various phases of a project is authorized incrementally by the Public Works Board. Approval for actual construction is withheld until the Department demonstrates compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Environmental Protection Program provides assistance to complete environmental studies required by CEQA and works with Capital Outlay project managers to avoid significant impacts to the environment. Environmental Protection personnel complete resource inventories, contract for technical experts, and consult with key agencies and members of the public to identify and analyze potential environmental impacts that would result from the project. They prepare documents and coordinate the public review process during the planning, development and approval of a CAL FIRE project.
Capital Outlay Project environmental notices and documents currently available for review and comment: Public Notice