10 May 2009

Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council May Meeting

Last Wednesday was the monthly meeting of the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council at the Sleepy Hollow Community Center and, though I missed the first half-hour of the session, the focus came after that.

This is concerning the Wildfire Awareness Day that will be held on Saturday, 30 May from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Western Hills Park, which is at the corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Canon Lane in Chino Hills. With the recent fire catastrophe at Santa Barbara following on year after year of mounting home losses to wildfires and this season portending more of the same after another subpar of rain this winter and the continuation of drought, the importance of events like these cannot be understated. There will be vendors to exhibit and discuss fire prevention materials and programs and local firefighting officials will be present to highlight what has been done in recent years to try and mitigate wildfire occurrences and threats. Hopefully, there will be a good turnout and, more hopefully, we will not experience this year in Carbon Canyon what the folks in the hillsides above Santa Barbara are going through now.

Another component of the meeting consisted of the potential closure of Brea's fire station #4, which is actually a storefront in Olinda Village staffed by one firefighter, who wouldn't, on his/her own, be able to get the one fire truck stationed there operational without assistance. There has been a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Brea fire chief Al Nero (who has probably taken plenty of ribbing over his surname, given what the Roman emperor of that name allegedly did when Rome burned in 64 A.D.) and Chino Valley fire chief Paul Benson that would provide Chino Valley assistance for fires in Brea if and when station 4 is shuttered. What precipitated (hmmm) a long discussion at this meeting was what the stated and actual response times would be if Chino Valley firefighters were called out to a fire on the Brea side of the Canyon and whether either of these would be sufficient and acceptable.

As it is, there is probably not any real sufficiency of personnel and response times to cover a locally-started fire occurring in hot, dry and windy Santa Ana weather conditions. As has been stated here several times, the Freeway Complex fire should not be the standard by which to measure this. As excellent a job our local firefighting departments have done in recent years, if last November's conditions were to be replicated with a locally-ignited blaze, the result would be far worse than what happened in the Fall.

There has, incidentally, been talk of moving Chino Valley's station 4, now at Carbon Canyon Road and Canon Lane over to Eucalyptus Avenue west of Chino Hills Parkway, but fire board member Ray Marquez, a career firefighter, stated that there is no intention to do so for the forseeable future. The prospect of having both fire stations moved out of the Canyon, even if budget and other factors seem increasingly pressing, is not a good sign. While I heard some persons at the Wednesday meeting mention the old Sleepy Hollow volunteer fire department that existed for a few decades, up until, I think, the 1980s, it seems unrealistic to expect a resurrection of such a group providing anywhere near the level of service (if not good intentions) of what we have now.

It was also stated at this meeting that another round of brush removal is coming very soon, perhaps in a week or two, for Chino Hills residents of the Canyon, so a look at the Fire Safe Council website might help for those who are interested in how to have a pickup scheduled. In future years, funding will be sought to extend the program to Brea's Canyon residents, who have been making a fine showing as new partners and members at Fire Safe Council meetings in recent months.

Finally, there was a report on arundo removal and, although I missed that portion of the meeting, Claire Schlotterbeck, executive director of Hills for Everyone and an Olinda Village resident, gave me a brief explanation. There is a goal of raising $100,000 for a five-year program of spraying and removal of the highly invasive and difficult-to-kill plant, with almost two-thirds ($65K) raised right now. Treatment has been applied at several locations throughout the Brea side of the Canyon, where the arundo has been growing for years. All private owners, with the exception of the owner of the old La Vida Mineral Springs property, have given their approval.

Already some results can be seen, as the tips of the plants begin to weaken and die. The five-year program is vital because it takes that long to fully root out the plant. So, it looks like there is an excellent start to ridding the Canyon of a nuisance that is not only invasive, but very flammable.

I believe that covered the highlights of the meeting, though I am sure the next issue of the Chino Hills Championl, issued today for the coming week, will have more (mine comes Tuesday, so we'll see what is there.)

1 comment:

pdallen said...

Governor’s Executive Order…!

In light of Executive Order S – 05 – 09 issued by the Governor to CAL FIRE and CAL EMA directing that they utilize staff as necessary to expedite the processing of contracts and grants of federal funds to communities, to support local and regional wildfire hazard mitigation and community emergency planning; and to establish short-term and long-term procurement mechanisms to secure the unique goods and services that may be required to support communities in a fire emergency; we are compelled to respond – accordingly we are notifying every local and state municipality throughout the State of California of our unique Community Fire Protection Program. We are in communication with the Governor and expect that additional funds may be made available for preparedness, prevention, and protection from wildland fires.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to aFiremansFriend. It is a new resource which should be of great interest to every city endangered by wildland fires. We are currently preparing Federal and State Grant applications for the implementation of our program through a Pilot Program in the City of Yorba Linda. In conjunction with OCFA and the City of Yorba Linda; which have identified 14-high risk fire zones in and among the homeowners which suffered disastrous property losses in Hidden Hills in the Freeway Complex Fire; we anticipate installing our pilot fire protection program in July through August.

aFiremansFriend is a complete Community Fire Protection Program which truly joins the efforts of Cites, Fire Authorities, Water Agencies, and Citizens to provide necessary resources to prevent and defend against wildfires at the wildland urban interface. I invite you to review the ‘Program’ by visiting our website; http://www.afiremansfriend.com.

We are dedicated to the protection of people, property, and the environment of all areas of California that have or will become endangered by wildland fires… we are available and look forward to speaking to you soon.

Best Regards,

Phil Allen
a body of water is...

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