From Peter Garin, on the Arroyo Seco side of the fire:
“I just got back from talking to a group of BAER’s…
First of all, I have to thank Tim Short, the Chief Ranger for the Los Padres National Forest (Ed note: District Ranger, Monterey District) and Judith Downing, Emergency Management Specialist for inviting me to the presentation on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 19th. It was chaired by Kevin Cooper, the Los Padres BAER Team Coordinator.
It was one of the most, fast paced, concise, well organized meetings I’ve attended in a while. Although the first part of BAER study was presented on October 5th, in Big Sur which attended, the second part was presented and shared with various agencies that worked together on compiling the information as the fire was still being contained in Carmel Valley and Arroyo Seco. Now that the fire was contained they all rushed to get out the report that at the meeting was being presented and finalized. The report will then be distributed officially to all the various government agencies sometime next week. In short, I got a preview.
I got to see how the report was compiled by the experts who used satellite imagery, heat sensor maps, documentation from previous fires in the area, helicopter flights, and first hand “boots on the ground” staff inspections. The staff was compiled of geologists, hydrologists, erosion specialists, local Rangers, staff experts in roads, trails, archeology as well as cultural sites, botany and wildlife.
Without going into too much detail the following points emerged:
The brunt of fire is in the Carmel Valley and Big Sur Watersheds.
Every possible scenario has been considered concerning health and human safety.
Mapping and documentation was carefully calculated, and projections made on the best data possible.
Maps were created showing probable debris flow, volume of flow and the combined hazard of both.
Debris flow start when rain exceeds .05 inches in one hour even before soils are saturated.
Short, high intensity rains create the worst debris flows.
Constant vigilance over culverts, storm drains, key drainage points in trails and roads help immensely.
Preparation and organization mitigate most disasters.
Early warning systems that were just tested with the recent rain worked very well. (Ed Note: Some question re this, from what I heard, due to landlines down from storm)
Get advice before you try and implement erosion control yourself.
Experts can advise you on “Best practices”, and the NCRS will provide confidential advice for free.
Follow warnings. Pay attention to signage. Be sure you get the best advice possible, confirm the source.
There will be a meeting when the agencies have a chance to confer and will coordinate a date and time with Dee Heckman. The date and time will be announced.”