Sonoma County Fire Prevention & Response

Measure H, March 2024

The Primary Goal:

"Provide for more efficient, effective, and sustainable fire response, paramedic services, and wildfire prevention and response capabilities that protect the health and safety of Sonoma County residents, business owners, and visitors".

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The Challenges

  • Like many other Californian counties, Sonoma County has been grappling with substantial funding issues for fire services, especially in preparing for future wildfires and winter storm impacts.
  • The Fire Chiefs have raised concerns about the current county-wide fire service delivery needs to be improved, funding, and system structure.
  • As the county grows and the demand for public safety escalates, the public expects prompt, efficient, and effective emergency services everywhere and at all times.
  • The current system needs to meet National Fire Protection Agency standards throughout the county, with several service gaps being noticeable, especially in the more rural areas.
  • These rural areas are witnessing extended response times for critical medical emergencies and vehicle accidents, coupled with significant delays in mobilizing an effective firefighting force to control small fires before they escalate into major incidents.
Fire Trucks

The Solution

Measure H derives from the real-world experiences and deep concern of those at the frontline of our firefighting efforts—local firefighters and fire chiefs, who daily bear witness to the ravaging impacts of wildfires and emergency scenarios.

Funds raised from Measure H will exclusively support local fire agencies in providing fire protection and emergency response services. Measure H also entails stringent financial accountability measures, such as citizen and firefighter oversight and independent audits, to ensure proper fund allocation and prevent misuse by the county, the state, or for other purposes.


The Plan

A regional plan based on population density, call volumes, station coverage, current service gaps, and special hazards to advance a comprehensive long-term strategy covering all jurisdictions:

  • 1/2 cent sales tax is estimated to generate $60 million annually to address funding challenges
  • Increase effective firefighting force available countywide using National Fire Protection Agency standards 1710/1720 and a key goal of 3 local firefighters per engine
  • Reduce the strain of responding outside of existing boundaries
  • Increase the overall strength of the system
  • Reduce dependence on larger fire agencies
  • Increase capacity for the fire prevention/vegetation management effort with the vegetation management allocation directed towards the fire service
  • Improving recruitment and retention of firefighters county-wide
  • Upgrade 911 dispatch system to 24/7 Staffed Command Center
  • $3M for Vegetation Management Crew

Proposed Governance of Expenditures

  • Representation from Fire Districts Association, Fire Chiefs Association, Taxpayers Association, Board of Supervisors Nominees, City Mayors Nominees, Citizen at Large, and Labor
  • Fixed allocation cannot be reallocated; however, funding can be reduced if an agency/entity fails the annual audit
  • The funds collected from Measure H shall be received and distributed by the County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector
  • Oversight of expenditures entity, not a decision-making body

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Distribution Plan Allocations
Percentage of Tax
City of Healdsburg
City of Petaluma
City of Rohnert Park
City of Santa Rosa
City of Sebastopol
City of Sonoma
Cazadero Community Services District
Cloverdale Fire Protection District (including the City of Cloverdale)
Gold Ridge Fire Protection District
Graton Fire Protection District
Kenwood Fire Protection District
Monte Rio Fire Protection District
North Sonoma Coast Fire Protection District
Northern Sonoma County Fire Protection District
Occidental Fire Protection District
Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District (including the City of Cotati)
Schell-Vista Fire Protection District
Sonoma County Fire District (including the Town of Windsor)
Sonoma Valley Fire District
Timber Cove Fire Protection District
Community Service Area 40 (Bodega)
Community Service Area 40 (Camp Meeker)
Community Service Area 40 (Fort Ross)
Community Service Area 40 (Lakeville)
Community Service Area 40 (Two Rock)
Community Service Area 40 (Valley Ford)
Community Service Area 40 (Wilmar)
Northern Sonoma County Fire Protection District - Fund and manage Countywide Vegetation Management Crews
County of Sonoma – Fire Prevention and Haz-Mat Division
County of Sonoma Auditor – Controller – Treasurer – Tax Collector Administrative Fee
Sonoma County Chiefs Association - Countywide Expenses Funding
  • REDCOM Dispatch Fees (including Cities)
  • REDCOM Command Center Staffing (1 – BC, 3 – Captains, & 1- Admin)
  • Lexipol
  • Fire Safe Sonoma - $250k/year
  • Countywide Technology
  • Red Flag & Winter Storm Upstaffing
  • Recruiting/Training Programs
  • Sonoma County Chiefs Association Administrative Support
  • Funding agreement sustainability
  • Additional vegetation management projects

Ad paid for by Yes on H – Citizens Supporting a Safer Sonoma County. Ad committee’s top funder Pacific Gas & Electric.