The Mountain Area Safety Taskforce meeting at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the Nature Center is a working meeting of professional responders and is not open to the general public except by specific invitation, according to Kevin Turner, GSOB coordinator at UCR and CAL FIRE Forest Battalion Chief Gregg Bratcher.

They have requested the public be notified of the nature of the meeting after receiving many GSOB inquiry calls from Hill residents.

Turner, retired CAL FIRE chief, said a public informational meeting on the GSOB problem in Idyllwild will be scheduled, he hopes before the end of the year. At that session, he and others will answer questions, provide history of the insect, guidelines for identification and reporting, contact numbers and websites for reporting possible sightings, and to recruit resident spotters.

Local "boots on the ground" will be helpful in tracking its spread, especially in the spring and summer when tree die off can be more easily detected, Turner said. Now with leaves off the threatened oaks, and "D" shaped exit holes difficult to spot, next year will be definitive in understanding the scope of spread.

We will publish future public GSOB meeting notices.