The Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council hosted the second meeting to plan the 2014 Community Wildfire Protection Plan last week. The group’s goal is to have the new CWPP completed by early fall. Before it is finished, President Mike Esnard plans at least one community meeting to discuss and garner public thoughts and recommendations.
All participants agreed that this year’s plan should include two new topics, both critical to combating and restraining fires on the Hill.
One is a more comprehensive discussion and analysis of water resources on the Hill and their availability for firefighting and will be the responsibility of Pine Cove Water District General Manager Jerry Holldber. An issue addressed in this write-up will be run-off from fire-burned areas.
Secondly, Mile High Radio Club President Bill Tell will organize a more thorough discussion of radio communications on the Hill, including local emergency station WNKI.
Esnard led the discussion about content. “What have we done, what has worked and what are we going to do, simple and basic?” he summarized.
While all agreed that the plan must include all of the proposed fuel treatment work and other possible projects, there was debate over how much history of completed work should be provided.
The question of the extent of past actions appropriate for the revised CWPP was raised when Riverside County Fire Department Division Chief Gregg Bratcher asked how far back he should collect historical data. He recommended concentrating on projects related to the area’s major fuelbreaks.
Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz and former Idyllwild and Forest Service Ranger District Chief Norm Walker agreed that a comprehensive historical section would lower the interest in reading the document and the proposed actions.
Sue Nash recommended more attention be given to relating the overall strategy of fuel projects on the Hill with the specific projects: “How do the individual projects fit the overall strategy?”
In response, Dan Felix, current fire manager for the San Jacinto Ranger District, agreed, giving the example of better explaining how fuelbreaks improve protection of the watershed. He added that federal reviewers will focus attention on an “all-lands” approach, regardless of management agency, with an emphasis on restoration after fires.