Yeah, saw that story and man.. I can intellectually understand the fire departments actions, but at the same time - well - damn.
There are two solutions that I could think of that would be fair - 1) roll some portion of the county's taxes into paying for blanket coverage for the unincorporated area. 2) Say fine, you don't want to pay annually? Then if there's a fire and we respond, it's like if you go to the doctor uninsured - big ass bill time. That way, they can save the house and they can make it hurt enough that you shouldn't even flinch at the 75 per year.
I saw that story too, but it wasn't that the guy refused to pay, he and paid in the past and just hadn't gotten around to it yet that year. That reminds me, I have to pay my property tax . . .
I like both of your solutions Drew. It's definitely something that should be automatically covered. But you can always impose a fine of 200 years worth of payments to anyone who needs to have a fire put out at their house but hasn't paid. $75 a year, or a $15k fine once they put the fire out. Like you Drew, I can see why they didn't help, but there was 3 dogs and a cat in the house - what if there had been people? They didn't even come out when the guy called 911, they only came because the neighbor who had paid called 911 when his field caught on fire.
I'd help with the organization stuff, but I'm really not organized. Really.