The Colusa Fire Department plans to downsize equipment when they shop for their next fire truck.
The Colusa City Council, at their July 16 meeting, authorized Colusa Fire Chief Logan Conley to use last year’s Strike Team money to pay off the $91,000 that is still owed on their Type 1 ladder truck so they can finance a new Type 6 fire engine.
City officials said the Type 6, which is smaller and more efficient, is better suited for calls in which the larger engine, designed for structure fires, is not typically needed.
The Type 6 fire engine is used mostly by the U.S. Forest Service because it is specifically designed to transport firefighters to wildfires and provide them with access to water or other equipment.
Colusa, however, is eying the smaller transport engine as a means to save money on in-city calls.
“The (city’s) Type 1 Fire Engine is used as the first out vehicle for all EMS and fire calls,” Conley reported to the council. “The downside to using this vehicle as a first out response engine is that this vehicle has higher maintenance and fuel costs, along with increased liability.”
Colusa Finance Director Toni Benson said the city typically purchases a new fire truck about every 10 years in order to ensure that the fire department is equipped with dependable and reliable firefighting equipment.
The Type 6 costs about $250,000 compared to a Type 1, which now runs upward to $900,000, and will be considerably more energy efficient.
The city is able to pay off the ladder truck and finance a new vehicle only because California’s wildfire seasons have become harsher, resulting in Colusa firefighters being frequently deployed to provide assistance, Benson said.
With the Type 1 debt gone, the Colusa Fire Department will be able to finance the new engine at about the same annual payment of $24,000 a year, which before was paid out of the general fund.
This year, payments on new equipment have been diverted to the Strike Team Fund as part of balancing the budget, Benson said.
The City Council authorized Conley to look at proposals for the smaller truck and bring it back to them for approval. ■