Two Skagit County fire districts are awaiting reimbursement from the state of Washington after sending firefighters and equipment to California to help battle summer wildfires.
In August, fire districts 3 and 14 — which serve the areas of Conway and Alger, respectively — sent crews to battle some of California’s deadly wildfires. The districts are waiting to be reimbursed $75,000 each in personnel costs.
That delay has local fire chiefs worried.
“That’s like 20 percent of our budget,” District 3 Chief Mike Ray said. “That’s $75,000 that we didn’t expect to spend.”
At issue is a contract between the state’s Department of Emergency Management and local fire departments that agreed, through a federal mutual aid agreement, to send help to other states in case of emergency.