At the end of the Los Angeles Times article on May 4, 2013 concering the Springs Fire in the Santa Monica Mountains, a telling revelation: land planning, not massive habitat clearance operations make the difference.
“Both Dettorre and Lindberry said good urban planning was also an important factor this week. Ventura County has long required strict setbacks for fire protection measures for developments. These created important barriers that helped prevent flames from reaching subdivisions.
Lindberry said that’s one reason the Dos Vientos neighborhood in Newbury Park, which appeared besieged on multiple sides by flames Thursday, suffered virtually no damage.
Strict growth controls in the county have also proved helpful for firefighters.
Officials in the 1970s adopted a plan of keeping nearly all commercial and residential development within the boundaries of Ventura County’s 10 cities. That created greenbelt buffers between the cities and limited the growth of residential tracts on unincorporated land. Several major Ventura County fires burned large amounts of open space but spared neighborhoods. The massive wildfire in 2003 burned 172,000 acres but destroyed only 38 structures.
“Because of our history, we know where our fires are going to go,” Dettorre said.”
Below is the image of the Springs Fire. A classic. The fire starts next to a road (flame symbol) and then burns all the way to the ocean.
Another man could lose his property due to the predatory practices of the clearance contractor Fire Prevention Services Inc. (FPS) and the dismissive attitude of San Diego County Tax Collector Dan McAllister.
The following is a letter to Cal Fire that we received a copy of last night concerning Benton Yue’s property near the community of Hidden Meadows, just north of Escondido. FPS claimed to have removed 72 dump truck loads of material from the property. See photo below of the property PRIOR to the so-called “abatement.”
Dear Cal Fire,
My situation has gone from bad to worse since my last email to you in September 2012.
We just sent this to the US Forest Service and wanted to keep you in the loop, which seems to be an endless one lately, playing over and over and over. But as you know, we are fighting to stop that replay.
We are having a difficult time finding out about the comment period regarding the Munhall Saddle habitat clearance project in the Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest. As you probably know, this was the project that caused considerable embarrassment for the Forest Service when the area cleared was featured (prior to clearance) on the cover of the Fall 2007 issue of Fremontia, the journal of the California Native Plant Society. The location was used to illustrate a beautiful example of valuable, old-growth chaparral.
We are greatly concerned about this and other habitat clearance projects on National Forest lands in southern California that do not serve to protect communities from the threat of wildfires, but rather are conducted to protect non-native species such as the hybrid pines planted on Munhall Saddle. We believe the mindset that initiated the removal of native chaparral and the planting of the hybrid pine plantation on the Munhall Saddle is outdated and no longer serves the purpose of National Forests in southern California.We urge you and the staff on the Cleveland National Forest to reconsider the Forest Service’s ongoing effort to remove native habitat on the Munhall Saddle in favor of an artificial environment that is now threatened with the invasion of highly flammable, non-native weeds due to past and planned clearance operations.
At some point in the near future, we believe a dialogue would be productive between us and other conservation organizations and the Cleveland National Forest staff regarding this and other projects that appear to value non-native species over natives.We look forward to hearing back from you.
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