I sent out this letter to the USFS re public comment for their plan. I am reproducing it here. Today was the last day for comment, but there will be another one later, and I will keep all informed here at that time.
I am writing in response to your letter dated November 20, 2012, ref no. 1950-3, soliciting public comments.
First, I would like to offer that I support the comments made by the Monterey Firesafe Council.
Second, I am distressed to note that NONE of the South Coast of Big Sur is included in your proposal. I see none of the traditional, and long standing firebreaks on the South Coast, south of Anderson Peak are included in your plan, either in the writing, or in the map, including Big Creek Reserve, Lucia Lodge, the Hermitage, Cone Peak, South Coast Ridge Rd, Plaskett Ridge Rd, and Willow Creek Rd, as well as Home Ridge, which helps to protect your own Pacific Valley Station and our local school. All of these areas were threatened in 2008.
I had been going to write specifically about Plaskett Ridge Rd, which has not been maintained since 2000, and which is in such dismal shape that your own fire trucks could not get up it for the last fire of thankfully only 12 acres, about 3 years ago, and which necessitated taking a much longer route, which doubled your response time. Instead, I find myself writing in defense of an entire community which is not addressed in this plan. We are part of the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest, and yet never see the attention and consideration afforded the rest of Big Sur. If there is a totally separate plan, businesses, homeowners, and residents should be informed of this. If not, why are we not included? We are a part of Big Sur and the Monterey District.
After the Basin Fire of 2008, you may recall, came the Chalk Fire in October of that year. Many homes and businesses were threatened, and yet I see no indication of any plan to provide “Strategic Community Firebreak Improvement” down here. Yes, we have the Silver Peak Wilderness Area down here, but there is much of our area that is not within the Wilderness, and for which a strategic plan can and should be developed.
Now that I have realized that we are not even a part of this plan, I will be contacting others in my community, businesses and homeowners so that we can find out why, what the USFS has planned for us, and what we can do to facilitate a plan such as the one put forth for the rest of Big Sur.
I would greatly appreciate any plans the USFS has for this area, so I can pass it along through my blog (http://bigsurkate.wordpress.com) and emails to other residents who will be interested.
Kathleen Woods Novoa
Law Office of KWNovoa
Big Sur, CA 93920