National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
Partnership header Making music at the Ashville festival, Blue Ridge Parkway
Fire Operations Center

Description: The National Park Service (NPS) and California Department of Forestry (CDF) maintain a cooperative relationship to provide fire protection in the gateway community of Three Rivers, located two miles outside the boundary of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California. Many fires in the Three Rivers area are multi-jurisdictional and the cooperative relationship strengthens operational response. The park is currently partnering with CDF to rehabilitate a State of California fire station near the park to replace wildland fire facilities at park headquarters at Ash Mountain.

The cooperative partnership began in 1935 when the NPS built the Hammond Fire Station on state-owned land. After construction was completed, ownership of the station was transferred to the state. The facility was managed and staffed exclusively by CDF until its closing after the 2003 fire season. The station provided fire protection for both the community of Three Rivers and park headquarters. CDF closed the Hammond Station due to consolidation of fire management facilities and a new county fire station planned in Three Rivers.

In 2001, the parks received funding to replace the wildland fire facility at park headquarters at Ash Mountain. The existing building has been in extremely poor condition for over 15 years and could not be remodeled to meet life safety or California seismic codes. The facilities house Crew 91 (17 people), Engine 72 (7 people), and fire equipment storage.

An environmental assessment was completed and alternatives for new facility locations inside the parks were developed. All alternatives were deemed undesirable because of concerns over development impacts on the visitor experience. Park management expressed interest in exploring locations outside the parks and approached CDF about using the Hammond Fire Station when CDF moved into their new county facility.

The building will be rehabilitated, brought up to current codes, and transformed into a modern facility while maintaining its historic character. This partnership project improves facilities for NPS crews, enhances the partnership with CDF, and saves significant money for NPS.

Since CDF presently owns the land and the building, a 20-year no-cost lease was prepared and approved. In exchange for the lease, the NPS will pay for repairs and rehabilitation of the fire station. Architectural and engineering work is nearly complete. Rehabilitation of the Hammond Fire Station should begin in 2005 and is estimated to cost $470,000.

Geographic area covered: Located in the southern Sierra Nevada range, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks include 865,952 acres. The Hammond Fire Station is located two miles from the park on Hammond Drive and Highway 198 in Three Rivers, California.

List of partners and relationships: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Park Service.

Accomplishments to date:

  1. Completion of feasibility study, construction drawings and documents.
  2. With help from WASO, a no-cost lease was created with the California Department of General Services.

Key success factors:

  1. This project has been successful due in large part to the ongoing NPS-CDF fire staff coordination as they met regularly to discuss planning, design and lease issues.
  2. A comprehensive feasibility study was completed under Title I which helped park decide if project was of good value.
  3. NPS had funds and CDF had an existing location.

Frustrations: The timing of funding. It has been difficult for fire managers to do successful long range planning with money from Department of Interior's Wildland Fire Facilities, which provides one-year funding as opposed to multi-year funding. The timeline for the project has always been three to four years. As a result, the parks lost project dollars and had to recompete for funding in the middle of the project.

Most important lessons learned to date: Finish the environmental assessment before submitting a funding request. The money came too soon in the planning process and had to be used in one year.

What would you do differently next time: See "Most important lessons learned to date" above.

Suggested resource materials:

For more information:

Name: Dave Allen
Affiliation: District Fire Management Officer, Sequoia National Park
Phone/Fax: 559-565-3162
Email/website: dave_allen@nps.gov

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising __; Capital Improvements _X_; Facility Management _X_; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation __; Arts __; Information Services __; Transportation __; Mutual Aid _X_; Fire Management _X_; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations __;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Jody Lyle and Dave Allen Date posted: 9/8/04
Phone: Jody Lyle at 559-565-3703; Dave Allen at 559-565-3162

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