May 28, 2019
by Thomas Martin
Walk the neighborhood. See high grasses? Are there thistles as high as your eye? Are there overhanging limbs near electrical wires? First, take care of your property. See potential problems in the neighborhood? If so, contact the property owner. If that fails to get results, call SVFRA – Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority (707) 996-2102.
“The Sonoma Wildlands Cooperative” – Local Organizations Combined To Promote A Vegetation Control Program….
Cal Fire has provided a grant of just over $1 million to six local organizations to participate in vegetation management and controlled burns. Collectively they are known as the “Sonoma Wildlands Collaborative.” The six organizations are the Audubon Canyon Ranch (Bouverie Preserve), California State Parks (Jack London, Annadel, Sugarloaf), County Regional Parks , Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District, Sonoma Land Trust, and the Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation.
The plan is to control vegetation growth that could fuel a future conflagration as experienced in 2017. These organizations would likely appreciate volunteers to prevent a future loss of life, property, and wildlife.
In June 2017 Springs Splash noted that Cal Fire annually selected a single area for inspection and prevention. That year it was the Cavedale Road area. Clearly this plan was too limited. Thousands of acres were in need of inspection and correction. By enlisting the above organizations to manage vegetation in areas under their control, maybe the next fire(s) will not be as devastating.
The fires of 2017 show the task is momentous. The Sonoma Wildlands Cooperative is taking steps to do this. However, an aerial view of the Mayacamas Mountains and forests shows that in spite of the 2017 fires, thousands of acres just above Highway 12 remain unburned and present a clear and present danger to the Springs communities. The vegetation control program outlined above will help greatly. A key lesson we should have learned from 2017 is that it’s up to individual residents to be prepared. That means all grasses and weeds need cutting, combustibles cleared, limbs near electric lines and leaves from roof gutters removed. Talk with your neighbors about mutual concerns. If there are circumstances that bother you call the fire department and request a review. Let’s keep the Springs safe and whole.
Imagine a conflagration nearly twice the size of all California fires in 2017 (1.8million acres). In 1910 the worst forest fire in U.S. History burned over three million acres of forests and towns in Montana, Idaho, E. Washington, and part of Canada. Nearly 10,000 men fought the blaze. It cost several hundred lives of workers and firefighters. The story is detailed in a book, “The Big Burn” by Timothy Egan (2010). In addition to the fire Egan’s work covers the founding of the U.S. Forest Service and the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt and Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot. In light of our recent experiences this work covers not only the greatest fire in history, but marks the beginning of the conservation and preservation movements of today.
Morning, afternoon, or evening an observer in Fetters or Boyes can see dogs walking their owners up and down the hills. Most are leashed, but not all. Certain dogs allow their owners to walk without being tied to them. It’s such a healthy and comical routine.
The owner strides to keep up with Bowser, then must stand about and wait for some sniffs and the perfect place to do business. Most owners pick up and continue their walk swinging a plastic bag of poop. However, others may be lax. Owners watch carefully when walkers approach from the opposite direction. Is it friend or foe? Fasten the leash? Usually it’s friendship and play. “What’s his name?” “How old is she?” “What kind?” Then they continue the stroll. “Good boy!” “Good girl!”
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