Tackling our wildfire defenses is not a simple or easy task. I have been participating in several discussions over the past several weeks as to what, or how, the ECA should do to participate. Some would think this is outside our purvey, but I believe we have a unique perspective on at least some of the tactics that could be used in the future. Parmeter Paving (not an ECA Member-they used to be!), demonstrated in the Walbridge fire what local resources can do to support and assist CalFire in defending homes and businesses from a wildfire. I heard they mobilized some 14 bulldozers and cut firebreaks around homes and the town of Cazadero using their local knowledge of the old logging trails and roads that have existed in that wild and steep area. They were obviously successful in their defending their homes and town. So, can we learn from this example? I believe we can, and we should utilize our considerable resources within the ECA to assist public entities in defending against future wildfires. Part of that defense could be mobilizing as Parmeter did, and the first step in that is to get your company and equipment registered with CalFire so you can get approval to work with CalFire and even submit for reimbursement should the emergency declaration be applied where FEMA gets involved.
Some other thoughts on strengthening our defenses:
- We need to get rid of some of the fuel in the forests. Controlled burn is an option, as is doing emergency timber harvesting as part of the emergency declaration of our area. Why that declaration is important is because it could mitigate or eliminate much of the environmental roadblocks to removing selected trees and cleaning up potential fuel on the forest floors. If timber harvesting can be done ahead of the destruction of the wildfires, there might be a market for the undamaged trees harvested that could help or wholly pay for that harvesting. Wouldn’t that be cool? We might be able to take care of our own lumber needs without importing from Canada!!
- We have local control over a lot of Open Space. How about we work with the Open Space district and cut selected fire breaks into strategic ridgetops or along roads in order to provide firefighters a better chance of stopping a wildfire from getting into areas of dense habitation? Cutting a wider fire break and maintenance of same could be done with one-time funds from the PG & E settlement and then putting a permanent budget amount in each year for maintenance of those fire breaks.
- Let’s hold the County to their duty to do vegetation management along our unincorporated roads. I heard from several residents in the Walbridge fire zone who said they were doing their part for vegetation management, but they had not seen any effort done by the County for several years. Again, one-time dollars from the PG & E settlement with some accountability for future budget expenditures could help solve this problem. I certainly would highly recommend the County outsource the vegetation management work rather than self-perform that work.
- I like the concept I included in a Newsletter several weeks ago (offered by Rohnert Park TPW) to use PG & E one time funds to buy seven specialized fire trucks that can access narrower roads than the regular fire engines. Buy them and deploy them in high risk areas.
- Is it time to bury some transmission lines that are along ridge tops that make them susceptible to high winds causing line arcs and sparking fires? This is expensive but it is well worth doing in small stretches. How to eat an elephant? Small but continuous bites!
- It is high time our community work closely with emergency services personnel in collaborating on these ideas and others to prevent or at least strengthen our defenses from these catastrophic wildfires that have dominated us for the past three or four years.
That’s All Folks!
SUMMARY OF WHAT AND WHO ECA Endorses!!!!
Cotati: ECA Endorses Ben Ford, Laura Sparks, Susan Harvey
Petaluma: ECA Endorses Kathy Miller, and Mike Healy
Rohnert Park: ECA Endorses Jake Mackenzie
Sonoma: ECA did not endorse any candidate in Sonoma.
Sebastopol: ECA Endorses Diana Rich, and Evert Fernandez
Santa Rosa: ECA Endorses Jack Tibbetts, Chris Rogers, Jorge Inocencio, and Eric Christensen
Windsor: ECA Endorses Dominic Foppoli for Mayor
Healdsburg: ECA Endorses David Hagele, Ariel Kelly, and David Jones
Cloverdale: ECA did not endorse any candidate in Cloverdale.
State Ballot Measures:
ECA voted to OPPOSE California Ballot Measure Prop 15
Local Ballot Measures:
ECA voted to ENDORSE Sonoma County Measure DD
ECA voted to OPPOSE Sonoma County Measure O, County of Sonoma, Mental Health, Addiction and Homeless Services Measure Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance
ECA voted to OPPOSE City of Santa Rosa’s Measure Q, City of Santa Rosa, Sales Tax Extension
ECA voted to take no position on any other State or Local Ballot Measures
Bits and Pieces:
The website for Measure DD is up and running and we would appreciate you visiting the site, endorsing the Measure, and sharing the messaging on social media. www.gosonomaact.com
Sign locations: The Yes on DD Campaign, needs sign locations to mount “Yes on DD, Keep Us Moving” on private property. Specifically, frontages along Highway 101, Highway 12, and Lakeville Highway are desired. I know some of you have property along these roads. If you contact me, I can ensure you get a sign delivered to a location you would like.
So far, I have heard from Ghilotti Brothers, Ghilotti Construction, and Erik Fowler who have provided sign locations. Signs will be delivered late Friday if you want any of them to put up on your property.
Santa Rosa – Is wrapping up their Annual Slurry Seal pavement treatment to maintain neighborhood streets. | See the map
Cloverdale – Pedestrian safety improvements for areas on South Cloverdale Blvd. happening through 10/6. | Learn more