LPNF Closure Order

Los Padres extends recreation site closure until June 1                                                                                                                                                                                GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today announced that campgrounds managed by concessionaire will remain closed through June 1 in an effort to remain consistent with state and local health guidelines that promote safe social distancing and discourage large gatherings.
Information on individual recreation sites is available on Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.
Outdoor recreation is beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. The Forest Service is focused on ensuring the health and safety of our employees, our concessionaires and the public while maintaining our ability to provide mission critical services including emergency fire response, law enforcement, and support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:
No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and wasteAll toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordinglyAvoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limitedIf an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location
We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen these closed sites. Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. Visitors are encouraged to recreate in areas close to home and avoid traveling long distances. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.
FOREST ORDER NO. 05-07-00-20-07 Forest Developed Recreation Site Closure LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST
Pursuant to 16 USC § 551 and 36 CFR § 261.50(a), and to provide for public and employee health and safety, the following act is prohibited in the Los Padres National Forest. This Order is effective from May 16, 2020through June 1, 2020.

Entering or using a Developed Recreation Site (campground) managed by Parks Management Company, or a portion thereof, as listed in Exhibit A.36 CFR 261.58(b).

Pursuant to 36 CFR § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
This prohibition is in addition to the general prohibitions contained in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.

A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both. 16 USC § 551 and 18 USC §§ 3559, 3571, and 3581.

Done at Goleta, California this 15th day of May, 2020.Kevin B. ElliottForest SupervisorLos Padres National Forest

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST MONTEREY RANGER DISTRICT Forest Order No. 05-07-51-20-08COVID19 Emergency Closure
Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), and to provide for public safety, the following acts are prohibited within the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District. This Order is effective from May16, 2020through May 31, 2020.

1. Entering or using the trailheads listed below and shown on the attached map.San Carpoforo TrailheadSalmon Creek TrailheadBuckeye TrailheadSoda Springs TrailheadCruickshank TrailheadPrewitt South TrailheadPrewitt North TrailheadMill Creek TrailheadKirk Creek TrailheadDe Angulo TrailheadBoronda Trailhead
36 CFR 261.58(b).

2. Being on the National Forest System roads listed below and shown on the attached map.Forest Road No. 22S05 (South Coast Ridge Road)Forest Road No. 23S01 (Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road)Forest Road No. 23S02 (Plaskett Ridge Road)Forest Road No. 20S05 (North Coast Ridge Road)
36 CFR 261.54(e).

3. Being on the National Forest System trails listed below and shown on the attached map.Forest Road No. 20S03 (Boronda Trail)Forest Trail No. 2E07 (De Angulo Trail)Forest Trail No. 4E17 (Kirk Creek Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E06 (Prewitt Loop Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E10 (Cruickshank Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E17 (Soda Springs Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E09 (Buckeye Trail)Forest Trail No. 6E11 (Salmon Creek Trail)
36 CFR 261.55(a).

Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:Any Federal, State or local officer, public utilities employee, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

Owners or lessees of private land are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their land.
Residents are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their residences.
Current recreational cabin permittees are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to access their cabins.
Persons with a Forest Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from this Order.
These prohibitions are in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.
A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581.
Executed in Goleta, California, this 15th day of May, 2020.Kevin B. ElliottForest SupervisorLos Padres National Forest
FOREST ORDER PDF’SCOVID-19 Emergency Closure extension to May 31Forest Developed Recreation Site Closure Exhibit AForest Developed Recreation Site Closure Order
LPNF CLOSURE MAP

Los Padres National Forest-Monterey District Closure update

UPDATE: IN TODAY’S PINECONE POLICE LOG IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTION:

From the USFS, LPNF PIO: The new closure order will be posted on our public web site….It will take effect Saturday, May 16, and expire June 1. Here’s a rundown on what IS open:

All of the trails closed under the first order will remain closed except for Turner Creek and Sand Dollar/Jade Cove. Roads closed by the first order that will reopen are Sycamore Canyon, Nac-Ferg, Piney Creek, Tassajara, Milpitas, Central Coast/Cone Peak, Baldwin Ranch.

Developed campgrounds will remain closed until June 1.The group campground at Arroyo Seco will reopen June 19. We are permitting Parks Management Company to reopen the day use sites along Hwy. 1 provided they have adequate staffing and measures in place to safely deliver services to the public. The intent with the day use sites is to provide recreation opportunities for nearby residents along the coast. By opening roads on the east side of the district, we are encouraging backcountry access from the inland trails.

Big Sur COVID-19 Response Meeting Notes

COVID-19 Community Response Group Meeting Notes

May 11th, 2020

Attendees (via Zoom):

State Senate District 17, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, Parks Management Company, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Big Sur Health Center, Big Sur Fire, Big Sur CERT, and the Community Association of Big Sur 


Big Sur Health Center:

Executive Director Sharen Carey reports:• There are still no known cases of COVID-19 in the Big Sur planning area.• It appears that transmission of the virus is enhanced by close conditions in enclosed spaces over a prolonged exposure time frame.• There is less risk of transmission in open air settings.• There is evidence that Llamas produce more effective anti-bodies of the COVID-19 virus than humans. Research is ongoing.• Bottom line defense against contracting the virus: Assume it is in Big Sur and take all precautions recommended : wearing facemasks in public, social distancing, frequent handwashing.

Big Sur Fire, Chief Matt Harris:

Chief Matt Harris reports:• Big Sur Fire is prepared for fire season which will officially begin on May 18th.• Reported fires are now receiving a “wildland response”.• Big Sur Fire expects to respond to calls reporting illegal campfires, supporting the USFS and MOCO SO.• BSF is resuming fire, rescue and medical training.• Muster and other event dates are in flux pending Local and State SIP updated guidance.

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce,

Kirk Gafill reports:• There is a noticeable shift in momentum to begin reopening California with each County in various stages of preparedness to facilitate that reopening.• Supervisors Adams and Phillips are working with the Monterey County Hospitality Association to establish guidelines the hospitality industry will implement in order to safely reopen.• Rick Aldinger adds, establishing these guidelines is a collaborative process, bringing in public health experts and industry experts as well as lessons learned from businesses already open in countries ahead of California on the epidemiological curve.• As SIP guidance transitions in California, traffic in and out of Big Sur will continue to increase, putting pressure on closed trails and day use areas to reopen.

Community Emergency Response Team, Martha Karstens:• That the residents SIP survey is ongoing.• CERT successfully conducted two ZOOM training classes.

USFS, LPNF Monterey District Ranger Tim Short:• The Forest Order closing the Monterey District expires May 15th and that order will be reinstated with some modifications and exceptions. The new Order may reopen some Day Use areas, the Nacimiento Rd and some roads and trails on the east side of the Monterey District of the LPNF. Remaining closed will be the developed campgrounds, dispersed camping areas and roads and trails on the coast side of the Monterey District.• Fire restrictions will go into effect on May 13th. This will result in no campfires outside of developed campsites. Camp stoves with a permit will be allowed.• Butch Kronlund requested that gates at the intersection of Highway 1 and Nacimiento Rd and Nacimiento Rd and the South Coast Ridge Rd need maintenance as they are nearly inoperable. Tim pledged to get them on the list of resources needing attention.

Ca. State Parks, Superintendent Brent Marshall:• State Parks personnel extremely busy enforcing the ongoing SIP order.• The public is confused by the State softening of restrictions and the more restrictive County SIP order.• Relatively good news regarding California flattening the curve of the rate of infection.• Opening of Day Use areas will precede opening of campgrounds.• Brent appreciative of valuable input the stakeholder group provides on the weekly calls.  This input helping to drive reopening policy and procedure. Between Saturday and Sunday, Parksissued over 35 citations. Verbal warnings were also issued (10 verbal warnings for each citation).

Parks Management Company, Brian Cushman, CEO:• All Campgrounds and Day Use Areas remain closed.• Seeing an increase in vehicle traffic and is in agreement that trails need to be reopened to give an outlet for people to go to.• PMC is seeing more public disregard for the closures.• Employees are here and ready and anxious to open once the SIP order is lifted.

Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Mike Splain, ED:• VWA continues working on trails and campsites in the back country. • 17 campsites restored.• 41 lbs of trash packed out.• 0 hikers encountered on the Big Sur Trail.• 20 hikers advised to obey the Forest Order closing the Salmon Creek Trail.

17th State Senate District, Colleen Courtney for Senator Bill Monning:• For clarification on DMV license/registration extensions, see dmv.ca.gov for more information. 

              If anyone has specific questions, feel free to contact Senator Monning’s office (831) 657-6315.• Department of Motor Vehicles is extending Driver License renewal and vehicle registration renewal in consideration of the pandemic. Go to California Department of Motor Vehicles website to request an extension. Late fees may be waived.• Most DMV offices are closed but Salinas DMV is open.

Community Association of Big Sur, Butch Kronlund. ED:• CABS, working with the Big Sur business HR departments, will be making a second distribution of financial assistance to those most financially vulnerable due to employment disruptions brought on by COVID-19.

LPNF Fire Restrictions go into effect tomorrow, 5/12

Los Padres National Forest officials raise fire restrictions

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials announced that fire restrictions will be raised throughout the Forest effective tomorrow, May 12.These restrictions will affect the use of campfires, stoves, smoking materials and internal combustion engines, and will remain in effect until the end of fire season in late autumn. 

These restrictions are in response to the increasing potential for a wildland fire start in areas where significant late season rainfall produced a large grass crop and an abundance of fine fuels. 

Effective May 12, the following restrictions will be in effect:

·         No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will be permitted outside of developed recreation sites or designated Campfire Use Sites (list attached), even with a valid California Campfire Permit. Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be permitted, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit, which is available free-of-charge on the Forest website and at any U.S. Forest Service office. Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for five feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times during use.

·         Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a designated Campfire Use Site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. 

·         Internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails. This restriction is in effect year-round. Please make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly, and has an approved spark arrester. 

·         Fireworks – even the “safe and sane” variety – are not permitted at any time or in any location within the Forest.

For a list of Developed Recreation Sites and Campfire Use Sites in Los Padres National Forest, or further information regarding Fire-Safe Camping, visitwww.fs.usda.gov/lpnf or contact the U.S. Forest Service district office nearest you.

USFS Closure extended to 5/15

Los Padres extends Monterey Ranger District

closure of roads and trails until May 15

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today extended the temporary closure of roads, trails and trailheads on the Monterey Ranger District until May 15 to align with current state and local guidance for safe social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and employees.

These roads, trails, and trailheads were drawing increasingly heavy vehicle traffic and large groups of people, creating circumstances where social distancing was not possible. Additionally, some roads, trails, and trailheads are located adjacent to residential properties and could potentially contribute to exposure risks to local residents. Roads and trails may create unmanageable vectors for further community spread of COVID-19.

This forest closure order includes the following:

Roads

·         Tassajara Road – Forest Road No. 18S02

·         Piney Creek Road – Forest Road No. 19S10

·         Milpitas Road – Forest Road No. 19S09

·         Nacimiento-Fergusson Road – Forest Road No. 22S01

·         Central Coast Road/Cone Peak Road – Forest Road No. 20S05.3

·         South Coast Ridge Road – Forest Road No. 22S05

·         Baldwin Ranch Road – Forest Road No. 24S06

·         Plaskett Ridge Road – Forest Road No. 23S02

·         North Coast Ridge Road – Forest Road No. 20S05

·         Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road – Forest Road No. 23S01

·         Sycamore Canyon Road – Forest Road No. 19S05

Trails

·         Boranda Trail – Forest Road No. 20S03

·         DeAngulo Trail – Forest Trail No. 2E07

·         Kirk Creek Trail – Forest Trail No. 4E17

·         Prewitt Loop Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E06

·         Sand Dollar/Jade Cove Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E13

·         Cruickshank Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E10

·         Soda Springs Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E17

·         Buckeye Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E09

·         Salmon Creek Trail – Forest Trail No. 6E11

Trailheads

·         San Carpoforo

·         Salmon Creek

·         Buckeye

·         Soda Springs

·         Cruickshank

·         Prewitt South

·         Prewitt North

·         Mill Creek

·         Kirk Creek

·         De Angulo

·         Boronda

This closure is an interim measure. Los Padres National Forest will continue to evaluate the emerging circumstances around COVID-19 and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as State and local health departments to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors remains our top priority.

Forest Service closes developed recreation sites throughout California until May 15

GOLETA, Calif. – The Pacific Southwest Region which includes Los Padres National Forest announced that developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15. This closure order is being extended to discourage large gatherings of people and promote safe social distancing of staying more than six feet apart.

“Developed recreation sites” refers to designated recreational use areas such as campgrounds, day use sites and picnic areas. Information on individual recreation sites is available on Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.

Outdoor recreation is beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. In light of the statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, we continue to ask visitors to recreate locally.  

If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:

  • No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
  • All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
  • Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location

Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen closed sites.

Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

USFS closes all developed recreation sites in CA

Forest Service closes developed recreation sites throughout California until April 30

GOLETA, Calif. – USDA Forest Service appreciates the public’s interest in outdoor recreation, particularly in light of current events. The Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in response to the recent statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, is joining the cause to aggressively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by closing developed recreation facilities on our National Forests statewide.

“Developed recreation sites” refers to designated recreational use areas designed to facilitate public use. Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.

Closures of developed recreation facilities are being put in place until at least April 30th in an attempt to avoid groups of people and promote social distancing of staying more than six feet apart.

While designated recreation sites will be closed, the general Forest area including the extensive trail system will remain open and available to the public. Hiking and walking outdoors are widely considered beneficial to maintaining one’s health. It is the intent of USDA Forest Service to maintain trail access to the extent practicable.

Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. We ask that you consider whether your personal participation in outdoor recreation at this time would pose an unnecessary risk to others as we all work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.

We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our National Forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

Misc. Updates & Info

From the USFS:

Los Padres National Forest offers
virtual services in response to Covid-19
GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest is limiting public access to its offices and implementing virtual services beginning today to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with guidance from federal and state authorities.

Customers needing information, permits and maps are encouraged to call the Supervisor’s Office or Ranger District Offices during regular business hours for prompt customer service, or by visiting the Forest website at

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/lpnf for additional updates.

“As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number one priority,” said Los Padres National Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott. “We are committed to continuing to support our communities and fulfill our mission as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19.”

These actions have been taken based on the best available medical advice to limit gatherings of large numbers of people and to promote social distancing.
Members of the public are encouraged to call the following Los Padres National Forest offices:

Supervisor’s Office – (805) 968-6640
Santa Barbara Ranger District – (805) 967-3481
Santa Lucia Ranger District – (805) 925-9538
Ojai Ranger District – (805) 646-4348
Monterey Ranger District – (831) 385-5434
Mt. Pinos Ranger District – (661) 245-3731

Visitors to our National Forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

I also got a notice they were suspending controlled burns, but cannot find it.

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PEBBLE BEACH CO. CLOSES HOTELS 

In a statement on its website, the P.B. Co. announced it was closing The Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay. The closure also applies to the company’s four golf courses and goes into effect at 5 p.m. today

“The health and well being of our guests, employees and their families is of paramount importance,” the statement said. “In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Pebble Beach Resorts has temporarily suspended our resort operations. For more than 100 years, we have welcomed guests from near and far to enjoy legendary golf and world-class accommodations along a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. Once the world is ready to travel again, we look forward to welcoming you to Pebble Beach.” 

The company said it was continuing to take reservations for arrivals after April 17. It also announced that “in order to provide essential services to Pebble Beach residents, our Gallery restaurant and Pebble Beach Market will both be open for take-out meals only.” 

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Governor Newsom Signs Order to Protect Public Health by Expanding Vote-by-Mail Options and Extending Deadlines for Presidential Primary CanvassPosted: 20 Mar 2020 09:00 PM PDTSACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order to permit vote-by-mail procedures to be used in three upcoming special
Governor Newsom Deploys California National Guard to Help Distribute Food at Food Banks & Protect California’s Most VulnerablePosted: 20 Mar 2020 08:07 PM PDT  Food banks are seeing a shortage in volunteers and experiencing greater need due to COVID-19   Governor calls for
Benefit programs available to help California workers who are losing wages due to the impacts of the CoronavirusPosted: 20 Mar 2020 06:24 PM PDTSacramento – Workers who have lost their jobs or have had their hours reduced due to the impacts of COVID-19
SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Counties Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)Posted: 20 Mar 2020 04:48 PM PDTSACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Oregon small

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I highly recommend reading this article in VOMB for Under the Sheltering Skies to get a first hand report for what this sheltering in place has been like to our service industry employees. httpshttps://voicesofmontereybay.org/2020/03/19/my-last-paycheck-at-a-santa-cruz-restaurant/

And from McWeekly: “What a week this has been. In many ways, our lives and community have been transformed by the arrival of a pandemic in Monterey County. Hour by hour and day by day, all of us have been forced to adapt and let go of routines, plans and expectations. This is true right here at the Weekly, where a dogged and dedicated team has tirelessly pursued breaking stories while publishing our annual Best Of Readers Poll (our biggest issue of the year) and launching this new daily e-newsletter, Monterey County NOW. While taking on that work, we lost seven beloved staff members to layoffs this week in an effort to respond to a major malfunction in the economy. What a week this has been.” Amen. Is 2020 over, yet?

Get take out, when you can, from your local restaurants. Tip well, if you can. Buy gift certificates for use later. Shop your local stores and markets. They are doing everything they can to provide you with what you need. Donate to your local news outlets, if you can, as advertising revenue is drying up. Stay home, wash your hands, and most of all, be kind.

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I think there were a couple other notices buried somewhere in my inbox, and if I find them, I will either add them here, or post another post after the photo tomorrow. BTW, I encourage you to send me any photos from your time of solitude for my photo Sunday posts. I think this is the only time when I wish I were married again so I would have someone to talk to and commiserate with…then I recover my sanity and smile.

USFS Rule Change re small land tracts

USDA Forest Service announces proposed changes to improve conveyance of small tracts of lands

FEBRUARY 26, 2020 – 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposed rule change that would expand use of the Small Tracts Act and provide the Forest Service greater flexibility to resolve land management challenges through sales, exchange, or interchange of small land parcels. The proposed changes are among those that implement new authorities the Forest Service received through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.

The proposed rule would allow parcels that are physically isolated, inaccessible, or lack national forest characteristics to be conveyed if they are 40 acres or less in size. It would also allow parcels 10 acres or less where permanent, habitable improvements have been made to be conveyed if encroachment was neither intentional nor negligent. Proceeds from these land exchanges could then be used to acquire lands or interest in lands in the same state that are suitable to be included in the National Forest System. Those proceeds may also be used to reimburse costs associated with the competitive sale of eligible lands.

“These changes are designed to help improve forest conditions, safety and service to the American people” said Chief Vicki Christiansen. “They will also help us to be better neighbors to landowners that border our national forests and grasslands.”

The proposed regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days following their publication in the Federal Register. More information on these rules and instructions on how to provide comments are available at http://federalregister.gov/d/2020-03639.

Recreational Shooting Ban extended on LPNF

Recreational shooting ban extended for six months

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials announced that the Forest Order prohibiting recreational shooting has been extended until June 30, 2020, to provide for public safety due to increasingly high fire danger conditions in the extended weather forecast and the potential for a wildfire sparked by shooting.

Despite recent winter rainfall, live fuel moisture levels across the Forest did not significantly recover and are currently hovering just above the 60 percent critical threshold. Predictive weather forecasts indicate persistent, strong offshore wind events through April that will likely further reduce fuel moisture levels.

Long-range weather models have consistently shown well below normal precipitation and drier than average weather with a high likelihood of elevated temperatures through the spring months. If these forecasts are accurate, grasses will cure out earlier than normal and grass fire activity could occur weeks earlier this year. These conditions allow fire to burn readily and remain present in the larger dead and downed fuels in the landscape.  Even with recent precipitation and cooler temperatures, live fuel moistures are slow to rise due to a state of dormancy in the brush.  

Preventing accidental starts from recreational shooting under dry conditions is key to protecting life and property. Shooting ranges under permit by Los Padres National Forest monitor and implement preventative measures to avoid accidental starts.

Under this Forest Order, discharging a firearm is prohibited except in the designated target ranges at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and the Ojai Valley Gun Club. Persons hunting during the open hunting season as specified in the laws of the State of California and having a valid California hunting license are exempt from this Forest Order.

A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

The Lookouts of Big Sur

Here is my latest article for Voices of Monterey Bay:

In the fall of 1984, Soaring Jenkins and future husband Isa Starkey climbed up Cone Peak for the first time. She made it up the 2¼-mile trail — cussing, sweating — and there met Ruth Albee, who’d been a lookout in various places for a decade.

Ruth “was in her 60s and loved the trail I’d just sworn at,” Jenkins said. “But I looked around and fell deeply, instantly in love with the tiny glass room and the wide expanse of ocean and mountain views. I told her I wanted to be a lookout and she said, ‘Go ahead and apply here; I’m going to work next year at Chews Ridge Lookout.’”

It was that easy. Jenkins was a lookout there for the next six years and she says she did it for the love of the place. Other Big Sur fire lookouts I know say they do it out of a feeling of service and duty. It’s a way to give back to Big Sur.

Though it was one of the most difficult and isolated lookouts in California, Jenkins-Starkey told me that “I wanted that job more than anything, I felt a strong magnetic pull to be there, yearned for it, and learned everything I could through the Fire Brigade training, to prepare for it.”

For the rest of the article, including interviews with Nadine Clark, of Big Sur, and Scott McClintock, of the Federal Fire Lookouts Association, on the Chew’s Ridge Lookout Program, see https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2020/01/02/they-look-out-for-us/ :

“I had a May Sarton quote taped next to my desk: ‘Loneliness is the poverty of self, solitude is the richness of self,’” said Jenkins-Starkey. “It got me through a lot. After I’d been there several years I began to feel that everyone ought to have a long, long period of solitude to learn the contents of their mind, to learn how to exist, to just be, instead of always doing something.”

Learn the contents of one’s mind through solitude. I like that.