Strategic Community Firebreak, Monterey District

In a separate post, I will be posting a request by CPOA regarding funding a Fire Mitigation Position for Monterey County. That post will go live this afternoon.

The Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) is pleased to announce the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and draft Record of Decision (ROD) for the Strategic Community Fuelbreak Improvement project on the Monterey Ranger District. The FEIS and draft ROD are available for review at the Monterey Ranger District office, 406 South Mildred Ave, King City, CA 93903, and at the Supervisor’s Office, 6750 Navigator Way, Suite 150, Goleta, CA 93117. Beginning on May 22, 2018 it can also be viewed on-line at the following internet address: More information is included in the attached letter.

  • Notification+Letter+-+SCFIP+FEIS.pdf




11 thoughts on “Strategic Community Firebreak, Monterey District

  1. Thank you for posting this Kate. While I live in Santa Cruz, we have many of the same issues, so it’s interesting to read. One question I wonder for Monterey residents is the use of herbicide in Alternative 4. Herbicides – Round-up being the most widely used are now known to be a major cause in the decimation of Monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Does anyone have concern about that issue?

  2. If one has spent any time at all hiking in the area under review (and I have), the devastation from the Soberanes Fire is, well, sobering. The habitat destruction from such fires overwhelms concerns over any side effects, real or imagined, on small areas of the wilderness, from the proactive use of human technology and engineering to control and mitigate such destruction by wildfires. Such methods include the use of chemicals. Like most things in life, there is no perfect solution. All solutions, like pharmaceutical drugs to maintain ones health and prevent disease involve trade offs. Any side effects of herbicides and efficient and cost effective mechanized efforts to control or prevent the spread of devastating wildfires like the Soberanes Fire are a small price to pay and a reasonable trade off. Or one can just leave it all alone, let hundreds of thousands of acres burn for months on end and hope for the best for the birds, bees, monarch butterfly’s, and every other wild creature that depends on this wilderness for their health and well being including human beings. Or one can be proactive and protect the vast majority of this precious resource. Unfortunately, unless one has been sleeping for most of their adult life, proactive is not part of the vocabulary of the state and federal government but rather reactive is more their way – after the fact, when it is too late. After all, that is so much easier and politically efficient. This applies to most everything the political class is responsible for in modern times and thus why they so consistently fail (think bank regulators for example). It’s the only business in life that I can think of where there are no personal consequences for failure. And that is our fault. I hope we can do better going forward for our sake, the sake of the wilderness, and for my children and grandchildren. We must demand better from those we pay for such responsibilities and hold them accountable when they fail. This fire break needs to be as big and effective a defense, now, as possible. Or we can just let it burn and pretend we care about the birds, bees, and butterfly’s. Let’s do what we can to get this done and get it done well.

  3. Wow Larry, I certainly wasn’t suggesting the drastic choices you postulate! Of course all that can be done to prevent such fires needs to be done. I am simply pointing out one of the trade-offs you are bringing up. These pollinators are the foundation of our food supply, believe it or not, so it is not a trivial issue. I am sorry it got you so upset.

  4. If you look at the map, there are only a few small sections of the urban/wilderness interface that were not already cleared during the Soberanes fire fighting suppression. My guess is that the application of Roundup or similar chemical will be needed in only a few isolated places. USFS is not keen on wiping out monarchs or bees. Their focus is to protect the wilderness in the least harmful, most effective manner. The point is to stop the spread of fire from the urban areas into the wilderness as well as from the wilderness into the residential areas. The most effective way to do so is to create a cleared fire break between the two. The intention is to protect all humans, wildlife, bees and butterflies.

  5. The firebreak that goes eastward above Big Sur Basin (north of it) past Comings Gap/Camp toward Pat Spring was used along with backfires to stop northward progression in two prior major wildfires. This saved the old growth pine forest (so rare around here)/Big Pines between Comings junction and Pat. The break was not maintained and no personnel showed up to light a backfire as in the past so when the ‘08 Basin Fire hit it ran uphill, jumped the break (no backfire) and destroyed much of that old growth that now regularly falls and blocks the trails. It’s dead. What the Basin Fire didn’t wipe out the Soberanes Fire pretty much finished off. So you see the pattern. What is it the political class is actual doing for the public and the wildlife? It was not always this way. Ask anyone who has been going back there since the seventies. Comings “Camp” is a patch of dirt as is most of what are called “camps” around Pat. Want a Trail – to save it? Clear it. Oh but only by hand. Great. Brilliant. I don’t think the political class in charge of all of this land that belongs to us really gives a damn if a human ever goes to any of these places anymore. They don’t.

  6. Yeah, Penscratch, i’m Upset. In fact disgusted might be a better word. As we all should be.

  7. If low risk prisoners are trained and used to fight fires, why can’t they also be paid or volunteer to do the need hand clearing? Some of them could possibly be paid via reduced incarceration time. An hour of work for an hour of reduced sentence. Native Americans used fire during cooler damper weather to make controlled fire breaks, thinning out the underbrush and thus make hunting easier.

  8. Larry and Suzi both bring up related points. Prescribed burning is a proactive function and government is so rarely proactive. prescribed, proactive burning would almost completely eliminate the catastrophic wildfires we now experience. it is completely true that native americans burned the natural world around them constantly and did so when the fuels were just barely dry enough to burn thus the fires were low to medium intensity and forests grew differently. less trees, less brush, wider spacing between the larger trees with many ancillary effects such as less ground moisture transpired leading to higher flows from springs, more water in creeks, more riparian life and on and on including less drought stress on the remaining trees which equated to greater resiliency and higher forest health.

    oh, and less mice, which = less ticks = less tick-borne diseases.

    read all you can find about forest health and ecology when ‘white folks’ first encountered the landscape as managed by native americans.

    until then? amen for well managed fire breaks

    as well as do your own proactive clearance and sensible home and infrastructure design

  9. That’s great perspective – some important history. Thanks for the Richard. Amen on the proactive preventive efforts. It also makes the fire fighters job easier and safer. We owe them at least that much when they leave their homes and families sometimes for weeks at a time to help us.

  10. love the firefighters! bless them!

    so how about we start their year a bit earlier and have them train in and engage in pro-active burning? less drama and danger to all involved, likely cheaper, certainly cheaper in the long run.

    imagine the lovely Big Sur not choked with brush and under threat by fools with campfires! heck, if we did do proactive fuels and ecosystem management CAMP-FIRES WOULDN’T BE A PROBLEM.

    just sayin’

  11. Great idea Richard. It may be too late this year since burn season (brush piles, etc) is over but next year. Also Lisa’s idea to have low risk inmate crews help with clearing but again, until we begin to measure services from the public sector and the political class more as we do measure them when we pay for goods and services from private providers I would not expect much from the former. We seldom even ask or measure. If and when we do things might start to change. And we have to remember it is results not intentions that matter in the real world. Whether in education, fire safety and prevention, the 40 plus year old “Drug War” (Prohibition – The Sequel), and on and on. Or how about 37 years of “water management”? Yeah.

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