USA — It figures that in the middle of Wildland Fire Awareness Week, the Nevada Legislature’s money committees voted to end funding for the state’s Minden Dispatch Center.
Saying that radio traffic now handled by dispatchers in Minden could be efficiently handled out of Elko, members of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees voted to eliminate the $441,000 it costs to run the center.
The Nevada Division of Forestry will eliminate three positions if the dispatch center is closed.
The building, which the state owns, currently houses the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Lawmakers assumed that those two agencies will remain in the building.
The dispatch center was a favorite project of the late Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen. It was Jacobsen who brokered the deal in 1991 to build the $2 million center as a combined federal-state airbase to maximize cooperation among all agencies fighting fires in the area.
We know emergency personnel had trouble communicating between the Gardnerville Ranchos and Minden during a house fire early Monday morning. We’re not comforted by the assurances that dispatch centers in Elko and California will be able to pick up the slack left by abandoning Minden dispatch.
While we’re unhappy with the potential closure of the Dangberg Ranch and the Minden campus, keeping either open wouldn’t save your house if it was on fire. The same can’t be said of the dispatch center, which has been a bulwark against fire in the Sierra Front for 20 years.