Chief's Desk

Don Wagner

About the Penn Valley Fire Protection District. The District’s response area is 92 square miles, approximately 15,000 people with a total assessed value we protect is nearly $1.9 billion dollars.  We operate out of two full time staffed fire stations and one reserve fire station. We are the only fire agency in western Nevada County that provides advanced life support and ambulance transport.

Penn Valley Fire staffing consists of one full time Fire Chief, three full time Fire Captains, four full time Lieutenants, five full time firefighters, and two-part time firefighters.  We have one full time and one-part time administration staff. Some of these employees are also licensed Paramedics, the Fire Chief, One Captain, four Lieutenants and three firefighters.  

Daily staffing is five personnel on duty, two at each station plus a duty officer. If you see a third person on the crew, they are likely a firefighter intern whom have graduated a fire academy and putting those skills to work on the job training for a small daily stipend. 

On the night of October, the 8th, 2017 staffing consisted of a Captain working as the duty officer, the two personnel on duty at each station with one of the stations having an intern that night. The call came in a little after 11:30 at night for a vegetation fire on Lone Lobo Trail that is within the boundaries of our district. As the fire continued to grow, the duty officer requested off duty personnel to come back to work to staff stations as well as additional resources to the fire. As our personnel started arriving at the stations it was evident this was going to be a long night and next few days. All total Penn Valley had two engines, one water tender and two Captains assigned to the Lobo Fire. That left one engine and the Fire Chief to respond to new calls and assist with evacuations.

On the morning of the 9th in addition to the Fire, Penn Valley also responded to four medical emergencies, one vehicle accident and nine calls for assistance with evacuations. All but one employee whom was out of state came back to work that night. Something I am very proud of that level of dedication from our firefighters. The crews who started the firefight on Sunday night remained on the fire line until Tuesday morning when they were given a rest break for the day, a hot meal, shower and were back out Wednesday morning for another 24-hr. shift. During this time, we had the help from Sierra Nevada Ambulance whom provided us with an ambulance at our station till Wednesday afternoon when some of our personnel were released from the fire. A big thank you to Sierra Nevada Ambulance for their assistance and support.  

It was a long few days for evacuees and firefighters involved and while numerous people lost their homes and belongings. The positive note was no human loss of life or injuries to civilians or firefighters on the Lobo or McCourtney Fire.
If you have any questions I can be reached at the District office 432 – 2630 or e-mail, [email protected].

Thank you,
Don Wagner
Fire Chief     

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