Lake Wenatchee Fire & Rescue responds to all fire and emergency medical incidents over a 100 square mile area including Plain, Chiwawa Pines, Lake Wenatchee, Fish Lake, White River, Nason Creek, Ponderosa, River Road and US2 from Coles Corner to Stevens Pass. In 2019 LWFR responded to over 300 call for service for the first time. All this is done with 26 volunteer firefighters and EMT’s. Partnering with Cascade Medical to station and staff an ambulance in the Lake Wenatchee area has brought emergency response times in the area to enviable levels. With a rapidly growing population of retirement age residents and increased sport activity this is a huge benefit.
In 2005 voters approved an operating levy measure for LWFR of 82 cents per $1,000. In the ensuing years that rate has deteriorated to .54 cents. During the same period, operating expenses of the District for equipment, required training, protective gear for firefighters and general operating expenses have understandably escalated. New training and equipment compliance requirements imposed on the department without funding for them has increased the already challenging burden of fully funding operations. A recent rating review by the Washington Rating Bureau produced a report of favorable response capability which will assure continued home insurance availability at reasonable rates for homes in the area. That favorable rating cannot be maintained without investment in the acquisition and maintenance of equipment, the training of firefighters and EMT’s and the maintenance of fleet vehicles. That is what operating levies do.
A proposal to refresh the levy rate to the original .82 will be on the ballot in Chelan County on February 11th, with ballots being mailed on January 24th. This levy renewal provides current operating revenue only, it does not fund any future expansion related to the recent acquisition of land adjacent to the Plain fire station.
A public meeting to provide information and answer questions on this levy will be held at 9:30 AM this Saturday, January 11th, at the Rec Club at the airstrip. Please come and be part of this process.