Control burn jumps containment at Montana de Oro

November 13, 2012

A Cal Fire control burn at Montana de Oro State Park is burning beyond containment after stronger than expected offshore winds pushed the fire across set lines onto Valencia Peak. [KSBY]

“We planned extensively for this prescribed fire and deployed our skilled firefighters to prevent an escape, but unfortunately the winds were more than anticipated and the fire jumped our lines,” Cal Fire Chief Rober Lewin told KSBY.

The escaped fire is burning about 25 acres in addition to the 430 acres Cal Fire planned to burn near Coon Creek in order to improve the habitat for wildlife and cattle and to clear out old vegetation. Cal Fire is working with State Park Rangers to fight the fire.

A large cloud of particulate matter from the burn blew over the South County Tuesday afternoon.

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Fire at times is need d to clear out old trash and slash, this is done to keep fires from getting huge and costing us the taxpayer mountains of money, but this was a b d deal from the start, the wind shave been picking up the last week or two and this should not have been done at this time, at last count there was/is 12 to 15 Ventura county fire engines and the same with Santa Barbara county, a couple bulldozers, some convict labor crews 3 to 4 helicopters and 3 to 4 airplanes, this makes for a nice bonus for CDF employees, makes me want to run right out and pay my fire TAX of 150 $ early.

I guess there were not enough fires for CalFire this season so they had to exercise their right (and your tax money) as pyromaniacs to start a fire of their own.

CalFire should not be in the business “to improve the habitat for wildlife and cattle and to clear out old vegetation.”.

They should be in the business of putting OUT fires!

The SLO Air Pollution Control Board meets 11/14 and I hope they get an ear full. Or maybe they will want more money to monitor the air of ‘controlled’ burns.

This is a pi$$-poor site for a controlled burn.

Who makes the decisions about where these burns will occur? Obviously, they don’t consult local experts on unique species that should be preserved.

In the canyon next to the Coon Creek hiking trail, it is a unique environment–REALLY unique.

The central coast area used to have forests of redwoods. However, in a previous climate change (when the weather warmed and dried out to what it is now), the redwoods died out. They require a lot of moisture in the air to thrive and multiply.

However, not too far from the Coon Creek trailhead (maybe 1/4 mile), if you look to the right, you’ll see a small handful of redwood trees that have survived!

In the botanical world, this is the equivalent of seeing wooly mammoths grazing next to Coon Creek.

Another unique thing about the Coon Creek area is that you can see the “relictual” (i.e., “relics”) redwood trees while standing on the trail, right near a very, very old ceanothus shrub. The relictual redwoods are not more than 100 yards away from the very old ceanothus shrub.

Ceanothus and redwood trees require completely different environments to grow. Yet, in this one area in our county, they are neighbors.

Finally, the third thing that is unique is that, where the Coon Creek trail loops back to the trailhead, the part of the trail that goes down the last slope before the parking lot–there is a beautiful, unique form of Manzanita that only grows in that one very small area.

Way to go, Cal Fire. You’ve risked a unique environment that, after the burn roars through, will never again be able to support the variety of species it is now supporting. You will have created an environment where invasive species can rush in–like the poor-white-trash pampas grass that is taking over our state.

Oh, and that pampas grass? It goes up like a torch, doesn’t it?

Mary, I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains from birth to 19 years old. Ceonothus grows everywhere up there adjacent to redwood trees. Are you sure someone didn’t plant those redwoods like the eucs?

The southern most native redwood groves are all above ragged point. Also the chapparal including the ceanothus, do inhabit primarily different habitats than redwoods, but up the coast especially near Santa Cruz there is a definite mix of chapparal and redwoods growing in harmony.

…”to improve the habitat for wildlife and CATTLE?”

That we are spending State resources to support a cattle lease in a State Park amazes me.

I can’t walk my dog on a leash in the State Park, but you can ride your horse or graze your cattle…..

Horses are ok, no meat eaters allowed though. Diseases. Dogs are predators that cause stress on the critters (the scent plus the chase). They used the traveling goat herd to clear the grazing area so why the burn? Yeah, the State is in the cattle grazing biz.

QUOTING JUSTME: “Dogs are predators that cause stress on the critters…”

And fires DON’T cause “stress on the critters”?

The goat-herds often cause more damage than they prevent because they are deployed at the wrong time of year. I live near a creek and this year the brain trust at SLO County deployed the goat herd while the ground-nesting birds were still fledglings. This is something that is completely verbotten, according to the SLO County wildlands management requirements.

It is important that the fledglings be “allowed” to reach flying maturity because it will promote a return population of birds next year.

I don’t know if you’ve lived next to a creek where the bird population has been destroyed, but I have. It used to happen quite frequently in the area where I lived when growing up. What happens afterwards is this: that summer you are inundated by swarms of mosquitos and other flying insects. You might as well forget planting a garden.

More heart-wrenching than seeing the fledglings ground up by the goats hooves (or half-eaten) are the baby bunnies trampled on and half eaten.

So goat-herds are good if managed correctly. The contractors who do it? They don’t care what kind of damage they leave behind.

The flames could be seen from Morro Bay and Cayucos.

The first-person reports are making me concerned that Cal Fire is not being truthful with us.

The latest is that it is “30% contained,” but just a few hours ago they said it would be very difficult to contain because of the rugged back country where the fire had escaped to.

To go from 10% to 30% containment in just a few hours, in area in which, Cal Fire said, fire would be very difficult to contain, doesn’t seem to fit, for me.

They should have known the wind would kick up. It’s been blowing 20-30 mph every day for the past 2 weeks.

Great job CalFire. The new tax that was put upon us, $84 million dollars, for education surely can be redirected to CalFire to educate themselves. Like Ron White the comedian says “you can’t fix stupid”. Well lets hope that the $84 million dollars will be a good start to help CalFire out.

I wonder if anyone will be held responsible for this blunder? If it were a private citizen that made this call, the government would be all over them for retribution. Although more than likely someone will get rewarded for putting the fire out.

Air Pollution Control should be all over these fools.

Overtime, overtime, overtime. Saw the helicopter (how much is this costing) and the airplane (more money). The firefighters needed Christmas money. The State Park system is a perfect example of a failed department in this State. And then to end 2012 with this gleaming story is a perfect year of corruption in one department caught with their hands in the cookie jar. No sympathy here, just piety for the taxpayers, again!

Very good point. Makes you kind of wonder? Maybe there wasn’t enough overtime this year. It’s been shown that many arsonists are in fact firemen. Purely speculation but in these days I have come to expect that anything can happen.

I would like to see a financial breakdown as to what the costs will end up being to us the taxpayer.

It’s 3pm and the air tankers are still going. The costs will be enormous to say the least. I guess as a taxpayer at least I can say and be rest assured that our friends at CalFire will have a very Merry Christmas.

Have to say this sounds like a logic excuse, slobird and mrholly.

First and foremost in any fire situation is weather and wind, and this seemed like a bone headed play from the get go with all the afternoon winds and red flag warnings in effect. Now the costs will soar and we as taxpayers will be paying for the states firefighters to be on the line 24/7 and all the air suport.

Oh please, they are trying to stop the sand dunes from blowing sand. They guys are blowing something else. From the beginning of time, when the wind blows at the dunes sand gets in the air. I am lived down here all my life, seen sand blow for years in Pismo, Oceano and Grover.

Air Pollution Control is a co-conspirator. They approved this burn.

Well at least they will have the $150.00 fee they are stealing from us to help fight this screw up.

Problem is that the $150 or in my case $300 won’t go toward “fighting” fires! Agree, we are being Taxed without being able to vote on it.