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Sonoma County Gazette
Camp Meeker Beat by Tom Austin

Fire Safe Camp Meeker & Creating a
Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Dec 27, 2018
by Tom Austin


Happy New Year!  If you read the Gazette front to back and don’t flip around like some kind of animal, this is the fourteenth time you have been wished felicitations for the AÑO NUEVO.  Please let us have our fun – the New Year is a fresh blank page of the mind, a metaphor that fairly leaps to mind as I begin composing this missive.  A blank page offers every choice, and that’s why we make our resolutions, contemplate our hopes and dreams, structure our goals, plan our game plans for success.  And I say this to you from the medium deep wisdom of middle age:  it matters not that some of your great dreams will end in tears:  you are still ahead in the game for having had them.  

The act of volition that is speaking your dreams aloud, even if only to your private self, rearranges some molecules in the brain.  The brain does not generally grow new cells, but that doesn’t mean there is no building going on.  What the brain does is grow new nerve paths.  Think of your brain as a really high-end whiteboard (or a computer, or a musical score):  You only have the eraser and the markers, but with those you can write and rewrite your brain software until you run out of ink and erasers.  

So how shall you rewrite your software for 2019?  How will you program your brain to execute the change that you seek in the world?  Me, I programmed it to spit out endless nested loops of metaphors until the readers fairly cry for mercy.  Others put their talents to constructive use, like the hard-working team atFire Safe Camp Meeker (FSCM).  Richard Seaman, one of that group’s prime movers, reports that FSCM has completed its first grant application to Cal Fire, with the proceeds to be applied to hiring professional help in creating aCommunity Wildfire Protection Plan (CWFP).  

What is a CWFP?  You are undoubtedly asking, along with dozens of more detailed queries.  I can’t help you with the details yet:  I am learning right alongside of you.  I can trot out yet another of my tiresome metaphors by describing the CWFP as the architecture document.  Or the recipe, or the sheet music, yada yada.  It is the game plan.  If done right, the big picture document that maps out where to fill in the details.  If done right, it will keep to a minimum the miscommunications, wasted energy, and frustrations that are an integral part of any ambitious and important undertaking. 

Richard Seaman, while wearing another of his hats, this one as board member of the CMVFD, proudly announced that four VFD trainees have graduated from the Volunteer Fire Academy run by theSonoma County Fire Services Training Program.  This is an intensive 66 hours (with another 80 scheduled for 2019) of theoretical and practical learning, including live fire training while navigating multi-story smoke-filled buildings.  Our new heroes are (go ahead and stand when I call your name, guys: take a bow) Tim Espinoza, Jonathan "JD" Driscoll, Jeremiah Johnson and Rafael Vera.  Way to go, guys!  Welcome to the front lines and thank you for your service!

And while we’re handing out thanks, let’s not forget the rest of the CMVFD, who put in another hard year of training under outgoing Chief Tim Williams and new Fire Chief Henry Baker.  Our volunteer firefighters do two or three training exercises a month, often working with emergency personnel from Cal Fire or the local ambulance service.

That’s what some of our friends and neighbors are doing to make sure that Camp Meeker continues to be a safe, pleasant and sometimes magical place to live.  There are countless others, yet unnamed, who are doing their part, from each according to his or her abilities.  People who are quietly working through the miscommunications and frustrations that inevitably come with doing good work.  What kind of good work are you doing?  Feel free to share it!  You’ve got my number.  



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