The fire station debuff is quite a nasty one. The firehouse itself is extremely expensive to both set up and run, ignoring the extra water requirements and the potential redesign a player's city will need. Furthermore, setting them up quickly is absolutely vital, as fires are extremely destructive if not handled properly.
To facilitate the player's introduction of firehouses into their city, I suggest accurately displaying the fire hazard icon on houses during the 6 month grace period prior to the fire debuff taking effect. The icon would disappear and reappear as normal if a firehouse was placed down or removed, but it would not actually indicate threat until the 6 month period was over. This would allow the player to prepare more easily and take a small level of difficulty away from the debuff, which I currently feel is the most significant challenge the player will face when designing their city.
I'd also like to briefly plug /r/cityclickers, the new subreddit. We'll have a guide going up soon. Hopefully the sub can attract new people to the game.