The Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District, which is chaired by City Councilmember Darrell Mulvihill, voted in favor of a new fire engine purchase in their meeting on December 9. A fire apparatus committee, overseen by Assistant Fire Chief Mark Mills, has for more than a year been investigating replacement of a 1984 engine, which had a lifespan of 25 years and has now been rendered obsolete as the open crew cab is no longer considered safe, especially in the wildland urban interface that is Big Bear Lake. In 1984, the Fire Protection District set aside funds in their reserves, in anticipation of eventual replacement—however, the cost of a custom engine, suitable for our area, has gone up considerably since the $370,000 was earmarked in the ‘80s. Fire Chief Rod Ballard, in his agenda report, pointed out that given the Valley’s terrain, road conditions and weather, specifications for a new engine are unique for the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, as compared to other agencies in Southern California. Four fire apparatus manufacturers submitted proposals on five different engines and, of the two deemed suitable, the Fire Protection District selected the Pierce Arrow, which is a four-wheel drive custom rear mountain pumper fire engine at a base cost of roughly $547,000. Another benefit of the Pierce Arrow engine which, again, meets local specifications and needs, is that a discount will be offered the Fire Protection District if purchased prior to January 2010. Equipment and radios for the new engine will come at additional cost.