That concern from the participants of the monthly focus groups -- ranging from experts, legislators and homeowners -- has only been heightened after the rain-dense winter/early spring storms, and an onslaught of stiff spring winds.
It becomes more urgent each year thanks to such catastrophes as the state's deadliest and most destructive wildfire, the 2018
"That is where embers could gather" in a wildfire, he said, so be sure to make those areas nonflammable.
One of the most recent think-tank gatherings at Cal Poly is evolving into the first and only
Turner, the county's former fire chief, remains an active participant in the focus group and hazard-mitigation planning for the community. Nuworsso has an
Turner said in March that the institute would "bring together a lot of disciplines on one campus," including forest health, community design, building design and construction, landscaping, firefighting, recovery and more. Turner said he believes
What are biggest fire concerns?
Wildfire concerns from the governor's office on down through county and local levels are as widespread as:
-- Thicker weed growth triggered by this year's rainstorms. Cutting and trimming the thickets of weeds and grasses is mandated in many communities, and in Cambria, some people have already begun that work.
-- Having so many dying, dead and drying trees in dense forests. Property owners, agencies,
However, none of those projects are in
-- Potential problems when so many homes are built within forested areas and wild lands. Aggressive programs to remove flammables can reduce that risk somewhat, so
Peters said that so far this season, his crews did one day of pile burning and spent six days clearing French broom and removing wind-damaged trees along
-- Dangers posed by illegal campsites in the forest and other fire-prone areas. It's an issue being tracked and attacked by CCSD, county Sheriff's deputies and others. Last month,
A deputy removed a homeless person from one of the sites. CCSD resources staff and West Coast Tree Service cleaned up some of the homeless camps on the east part of
"The problem was much worse" than Mendoza had previously reported.
He said there were as many as 40 sites, based on what they discovered, some of which were buried deep in the vegetation. In one day, 40 yards of waste was removed, but there were "still many more camps to clean up," and Mendoza estimates that CCSD may need financial help to finish the job this time.
Meanwhile, community members have been meeting on their own to find ways to help remove the risks and help those without permanent homes.
-- Potential for disaster from electrical equipment or when power lines go down, either on their own, during high winds or when falling trees take them out.
As part of that process, U.S. District Judge
-- Escalating effects of climate change, potentially bringing hotter, drier, windier weather during peak fire season.
-- How to evacuate safely and efficiently during a disaster.
-- How residents, homeowners and visitors can prepare now for what may happen later. Fuel-reduction work, creating defensible space around the home, "hardening" the structure against fire and embers and training in advance for evacuation are among the recommended actions.
What Cambria is doing
Cambria, with its aging forest of shallow-rooted, native
Some of the local discussions are focused on subjects as varied as:
-- A tentatively scheduled
-- Some disaster survival and emergency response courses being offered starting
-- The difficulties some Cambria homeowners are having in getting fire insurance protection, or being able to afford increasing costs for the policies they were able to buy.
-- CCSD has applied for a
-- Grant-funded forest cleanup activities, with some already done in the Leimert area and along
Another area of concern is the corridor from Tin City (
-- Improving communication during emergencies, with residents and homeowners encouraged to sign up with Reverse 911 and Nixle systems, but with a reminder that emergency notifications can be interrupted if a cellular system is down due to the emergency.
-- Setting up an emergency-preparedness website, work paid for by a community grant from Supervisor
How to be prepared
Two sets of classes are being offered to
There is a
The 12-hour course trains individuals to survive a disaster and safely conduct search-and-light-rescue response, aiding their own family and neighbors in the immediate aftermath of a natural catastrophe, technological accident or human-caused incident," according to information provided by the
For details or to sign up, email your name, email address and phone number to [email protected], with "PER334 Registration" in the email's subject line.
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