8/4 BSMAAC meeting

Last night’s meeting was well worth the time. More people turned out than I had ever seen at one of our Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council Meetings — a HUGE turn-out, in fact. SRO, with people lined up against all the walls and standing outside. I got to see north coast neighbors I had not seen since the fire began. Many hugs from many people. I am so very blessed to be a part of this extraordinary community that exhibits such compassion and heartfelt care for one another. Big Sur, as a community and as a voice, shined her brightest last night. I am honored to have been present.

The meeting was taped by a number of television stations and KUSP. You can see a photo of the crowd at life in the fire lane blog (on my blog roll) and download an audio of the meeting at: http://web.me.com/kellyeo/Life_in_the_Fire_Lane/Life_in_the_Fire_Lane_Downloads.html
Although there was some anger, the meeting was respectful, orderly, and enlightening. It was one of the best meetings I have attended in a long time. We shared stories of what happened in each of our respective corners of the world, some were absolutely amazing. I loved Frank Hathaway’s story about evacuating a SECOND time, only to later receive a phone call from Frank Pinney, our BSVFB Chief, telling him he was calling from Hathaway’s phone, inside Hathaway’s house, and that it was saved. Sula Nichols and Don Case were both there, both lost their houses, but neither spoke. Micah and Ross Curtis were both there from Apple Pie Ridge, and we got to hear their perspectives, particularly Micha’s, who was grandly applauded. Don McQueen also spoke about his experience, working with Blaze Engineering to build dozer lines, deal with the mandatory evacuation, and the sheriff’s response. Too many stories to repeat, but all well received, all applauded, and all heartfelt.

(Wile E. Coyote found on the side of Highway One on the way to meeting)

It would seem that the MCSO threatened many people with arrest for leaving their property during the emergency, while actually only arresting one, Ross Curtis. Others were handcuffed and then released. The one consistent theme, was, first, the FACT of the mandatory evacuation, which had never happened before, as far as anyone can remember, and second, the MCSO’s response to it. Neighbors weren’t allowed to help neighbor. That’s one of the best things about this community, neighbors DO help neighbors. This is not the big city, where one doesn’t know one’s neighbors. This is like most rural communities, where people still help one another. Telling us we could not, does not sit well.

Besides our Congressman, Sam Farr, our Supervisor, Dave Potter, and a representative from State Senator Laird’s Office, as well as various other County Officials, there was quite a presence by the Monterey Sheriff’s Office, but not the Sheriff, Kanalakis, himself. His presence is being “requested” by Dave and Sam for our next meeting on August 12th. Now, that ought to be interesting.

In the mean time, I hope to see some of you once again at the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Gala on August 9th at 6 pm, at the Monterey Conference Center to raise money for the fire brigades and the Big Sur Relief fund.

6 thoughts on “8/4 BSMAAC meeting

  1. Hi, Kate and Big Saurians!

    The audio from the BSMAAC meeting is up on my ‘blog, “Life in the Fire Lane.” Soon, KUSP should have it as well.

    See you at the big Whoop-de-Doo on Saturday and at the next BSMAAC meeting.

    By the way, I had a very interesting and information interview with US Forest Service LPNF Fuels Chief Steve Davis, who was very generous with his time and a great resource.

    I’m busy editing the casual conversation of over two hours to make it more cohesive for listeners.

    All the best!!

    Kelly

  2. Thanks, Kelly. I’ll add a link to the original post to your blog for the audio. Thanks for all you do with that.

    After an interesting conversation with two Cal-Fire guys after last night’s meeting, I have ordered “The Thirtymile Fire” and two other books on wild land firefighting. The story of the Thirtymile Fire is fascinating. 4 firefighters died as a result of a 9K acre fire in Washington and resulted in criminal charges being filed against the IC for involuntary manslaughter. NO WONDER the ICs are leery of putting firefighters in harm’s way. However, I also note the IC was charged with lying to investigators, so there may be more to this story. Of course, there was the Esperanza Fire in 2006 where 5 of Dietrich’s firefighters were killed, even though he wasn’t IC at that incident, as I understand.

    So, I guess, I am going to educate myself, as much as possible about this whole phenomena about fighting wildfires, about the ecology of these monsters, and about what we can do to tame the beast, while not doing away with it all together.

  3. Kate,

    Thanks! And, your curiosity is also mine! In a conversation I had with Casey Judd of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, there’s MUCH to the story about the FS losing people to CalFire and other – city crews – because of issues of pay and benefits in the FS.

    In other convos (not with Casey) the impression I get is that the FS is losing its expertise to other orgs, resulting in less-experienced ICs running some incidents – I forget whether or not this was one of the crits leveled at the IC of 30mile.I shall find out more!

    Thanks for the link!

    Best,

    Kelly

  4. Here is a very good resource for the current state of affairs of the FS Firefighters issues. Click on the “They said” button at the top, and read as far back as you can. It is blogging by firefighters themselves and there’s some very OPEN discussion of the current issues there:

    http://www.wildlandfire.com/Default.htm

    I feel that they should not be left to deal with their issues alone, as what they are dealing with affects ALL of us, our safety and the safety of our homes.

    My impression at this time is that the FS is in dire straights, and it won’t be straightened out anytime soon.

    Me, personally…I am researching what connection there is between the current issues and “Homeland Security”, who, after all, can direct any orgs’ affairs that could even remotely deal with remotely possible ‘terrorist’ behavior: fires, water supply, etc. We are in a police state my friends, but all hope is not lost.

  5. I have been reading the “they said” posts all morning, to the detriment of my practice, but I will check out the product, too. Thanks “Z”

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