The City of Colusa Fire Department has a new Type 6 Fire Engine.
The retrofitted Dodge Ram 5500 was purchased entirely with Strike Team funds, which the department receives by assisting other fire agencies combat wildfires.
“There is no impact on the general fund or to the taxpayers in the city of Colusa,” said Colusa Fire Chief Logan Conley.
The cost of the Type 6 was about $133,000 total, which included modifications to outfit the vehicle to Colusa’s standards and needs, such as new paint, a winch bumper, and other equipment.
The Type 6 engine was originally designed to assist in fighting wildfires by transporting firefighters to the scene, providing them with access to the fire, along with water or equipment to make an initial attack.
“They are pretty universal rigs,” said Fire Chief Logan Conley. “When they first came out, they were brush trucks used in wildland fires for a quick attack.”
Conley said the Type 6 has more recently and frequently become popular in large and small cities for everyday calls, minor vehicle accidents, and incidences that don’t require deployment of the large Type 1 ladder truck, designed for use in fighting structure fires in which a large quantity of water is pumped out in a short amount of time.
The use of the smaller Type 6 will help extend the life of Colusa’s only Type 1 engine, which would cost the city more than $600,000 to replace.
“More than 95 percent of our calls are either medical or nuisance types of calls, so (the Type 6) will lower the wear and tear on our most expensive equipment,” Conley said.
Additionally, the Dodge Type 6 maneuvers more easily on city streets, lowers the risk of accidents, and can push out about 250 gallons of water, if needed, Conley said.
Not only was the Strike Team funds enough to purchase the Type 6 vehicle, but allowed the Colusa Fire Department to pay off the entire debt that was owed on the Type 1 fire engine.
Throughout this past fire season, about five Colusa staffers and four volunteers at a time would rotate every week to fight wildfires, which have been burning hotter in recent years due to a build up of underbrush and exacerbated by hotter weather and winds.
“Before we were used as a support, but in recent years, we have been more of an initial attack resource…going directly to the wildfire, so we are seeing a lot more fires and hotter fires.”
As of Nov. 18, over 9,279 fires have burned 4,359,517 acres in California, more than 4 percent of the state’s roughly 100 million acres of land, and has claimed 26 lives.
“This last summer we spent about 3.5 months, give or take a few days, on many fires throughout the state,” Conley said.
Colusa Mayor Josh Hill said he appreciated Conley’s effort to get the fire department properly equipped in a manner that saves the taxpayers money while keeping Colusa’s citizens safe.
Prior to Conley’s ascension to fire chief, Strike Team funds were typically spent on miscellaneous needs or luxury items that would not typically pass through the city’s budget process, said Councilman Greg Ponciano.
“It was after Logan became chief or during the transition that we segregated Strike Team money into a separate fund, so now everything is transparent. So kudos to Logan; he’s spending it the way it is intended to be spent.”
Both the new Type 6 (Engine No. 556) and the city’s Basic Ambulance, which was retrofitted earlier this year from the former Chief’s vehicle using Strike Team Funds, will respond to all calls for service in Colusa.