IFPD does not deserve a rate increase and Riverside County Fire should take over IFPD.

In fact CAL FIRE should be granted the $150 per parcel abatement fee. In addition CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire and Riverside County Code Enforcement should be given this task.

IFPD has gravely neglected its abatement responsibilities. Just look at the triangle along Strawberry Creek between South Circle Drive, North Circle Drive, and Highway 243, the drainage ditch that will act as a conduit into our community.

Quite frankly, this town doesn’t deserve a fire department. What kind of neighbors refuse to abate their property next to their neighbor’s house just because it isn’t next to their home? I suggest that this is a large portion of the homes in Idyllwild. Yet this is legal.

We have a toothless fire department that will get some of us killed because the residents and businesses threatened the board with recall to make it this way.

Since when should abatements and inspections start in May? What a joke! Let’s run our saws in the middle of August.

Chief Sherman, you came from a state where timber management is a priority and you watched part of your community go up in flames. Perhaps some of your honesty would help clarify our grave self inflicted problem.

The facts are simple, most folks refuse to follow the IFPD and state fuel abatement recommendations. Specifically, section B of the IFPD fuel abatement recommendations for within a 100 feet of all structures reads, “It is recommended that live trees should be thinned to approximately one tree every 500 to 1,100 sq. ft. (22-33 ft apart on center, 40-80 trees/acre).”

Basically if the canopy touches, it must go. Picking up the leaves and needles won’t do. Ladder fuel abatement must happen regardless of property boundary.

The truth is we built our homes among second growth timber and neglected its management.

California law and IFPD ordinance will not save your home nor will it encourage fire protection personnel to save it. No firefighter will stand in the way of a blast furnace made by nature and enabled by us.

The forest among our homes is not healthy. It may look green, but cedars are not meant to be hedges. Conifer canopies are not meant to overlap and look like the Black Forest. Sit out on the deck at the Creekhouse and the point is made.

Have you looked at the homes around Strawberry Creek lately? Can you say blast furnace? What a joke! My home gets torched because my neighbors think its cool to make hedges out of the local fauna.

If you remember a few years back as a wind event moved through Idyllwild, many trees cut homes in half. It should have been predictable. Pack trees in unchecked, like cord wood, and destabilize a tree line and depend upon root stability of second and new growth trees as you build your homes on alluvial soil between them. You are asking for disaster.

Protect yourselves and your neighbors. Trim your trees up, and thin your trees to healthy specifications. Don’t depend upon the stability of exposed second growth trees near your homes as they will fall and burn during a fire or wind event.

For those who fail or refuse to abate their land, remember this, fire abatement hazards are declared public nuisances and as such under state law can be litigated and abated by private parties.

Jeff Smith
Pine Cove


  1. You are absolutely correct…a great number of citizens in our communty neglect their personal responsibility to clean up their act!!!! These are probably the same citizens that exceed the speed limit at the school, habitually do the "California Stop", toss trash on the property of others, and maybe drive after having a few too many!!!!

    It is the law (and has been for over 40 years), and not just because some gov't officials wanted to make their names known!!! Ask the 1000+ homeowners why it is the law after they lost their homes during the 1989 Oakland Hills Fire (Tunnel Fire), and various fire seiges during the 1990's and 2000's. True these were extreme circumstances (primarily weather), but a little prevention on each individual homeowners part could have gone a long way with reducing these conflagrations from the front page to possibly page 2 or 3 of the newspaper.

    Yes our local fire departments (yes all of them) needs to get out and enforce the law, but each property owner needs to put the remote down, get off the couch and do something!!!!