CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE
TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA
March 13, 2019, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street
A Quorum was established by the attendance of directors Crosby and Laura Swartz, Paul Nugent, JoEllen Butler and Christine Heinrichs. Cambria CSD liaison Harry Farmer, CCSD director Donn Howell, NCAC member Tony Church, new Cambria resident Cynthia Snell, and resident Peter Frey also attended.
Public and Director Comments: Crosby announced that ECOSLO’s regular quarterly econetworking meeting will be held Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7:30 am at the Matchfire office in San Luis Obispo.
Beautify Cambria: Claudia Harmon Worthen, president of Beautify Cambria Association, presented information on BCA’s initiative to achieve certification as an International Dark Sky Community for Cambria. She asked the Forest Committee to write a letter of support.
She also asked for support to create a Demonstration Native Plant Garden on the property owned by the CCSD along Cambia Drive next to Rabobank. Responsibility for continuing maintenance is an obstacle to creating a garden there. Claudia suggested Cambria’s environmental and service organizations could jointly commit to providing maintenance. She can get money to pay for initial plantings, which could include oaks and toyon. Crosby asked her to work up a site plan and return to the Forest Committee.
Minutes of the February meeting were approved as written.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported the account balance at $1,221.04. An upcoming expense will be for Lynn Singer for a professional review the finances.
Website Domain Name Billing: Paul Nugent will get the Forest Committee account transferred to his GoDaddy account, then create a billing for CFC. The Forest Committee needs to maintain the account to preserve the domain name.
Fuel Reduction in Protected Forest Areas: Crosby has not had a response from Fire Chief William Hollingsworth to his inquiry regarding fuel reduction in protected forest areas.
County Log Removal Requirements: Alan Peters of Cal Fire responded to the inquiry regarding log removal via Bruce Gibson’s new assistant, Blake Fixler:
“As far as logs left on-site, PG&E has their internal policy on how they address tree residue but this does not involve the County or the FSC as far as I know. I’m fairly certain that County Roads removes the whole tree whenever they remove trees from their right-of-way, but you would have to confirm with them. CCSD Fire would establish the standard as part of their annual weed abatement program. It’s possible that Chief Hollingsworth could require parcel owners to remove logs as part of that program, and you could ask him. Other than PG&E, County Roads, and CCSD weed abatement, it’s usually up to the landowner.
“It’s possible that Windsor continues to collect wood residue. For years they have collected dead trees from arborists and landowners, and they periodically have it ground up into mulch which they can then sell.
“BTW, downed logs will not usually stop a grass fire unless they are saturated. Fires may not spread as fast as grass when burning downed logs, but all vegetation is still combustible fuel. The worse thing about logs is that they can catch embers and smolder for a period of time and sometimes smoke is not visible for days. In general, dead fuel of any kind increases the fire hazard and should be removed from the “lean/green” 30′ zone immediately around buildings. This is not County policy, this is State law – PRC 4291.”
Crews often leave wood at the side of the road for people to pick up for their own use. Peter Frey said people sometimes add wood to piles in the forest.
Report from Fire Safe Focus Group: Christine Heinrichs reported that:
The Focus Group is planning a Community Preparedness Day May 18. JoEllen Butler is recruiting 60 volunteers for an Americorps forest cleanup project April 6 and 7, 30 for each day. Contact her through the FFRP website to volunteer.
County Fire Safe Council Business Manager Dan Turner reported that the plan from the $8,000 grant for evacuation planning on Lodge Hill will be completed by Cal Poly by June 30. FSFG Chair Dave Pierson said that the CCSD applied for another $100,000 FEMA grant to evaluate evacuation planning for the entire community.
Forest cleanup of dead and dying trees and invasive plants will continue from Cambria Road south on the east side of Highway 1 in mid-April. The corridor from Tin City up toward schools will be done after that.
They discussed using goats for forest cleanup. They are effective but can be expensive because of the need for fencing and goatherders. They do not eat everything. They avoid poison oak and French broom is poisonous to them.
A FEMA course in disaster survival will be offered free May 15-16. Contact CambriaCERT@gmail.com for information.
Cal Fire Chief Alan Peters will resume controlled burning in April with new fire crews.
Jeremy Main showed a kit for fire suppressants that can be sprayed on a house and landscaping for short duration protection. When used by others in a neighborhood, fire could be limited.
Community Alarm system: An emergency AM radio frequency is available to supplement other warning systems. Reverse 911 systems require advance registration of phone numbers with the sheriff’s office.
Cal Fire’s Community Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Report includes 19 recommendations and a list of projects that are immediate, short-term, and long-term. Governor Newsom is authorized funding for wildfire protection.
A Wildland-Urban Interface Institute has been established at Cal Poly.
Earth Day Fair April 21st, 11-3 pm: The Forest Committee with share a table with FFRP as we did last year, subject to FFRP Education Committee approval. Crosby will submit the application.
CCSD Fire Dept Responsibility for Fuel Reduction on Developed Parcels: The financial question of how Cambria will pay for taking over this Cal Fire responsibility has not been resolved. The Fire Safe Focus Group has set up a subcommittee to work on it.
Greenspace / Forest Committee Letter: Dead Tree Removal Practices: Forest Committee directors are asked to review the Forest Practice Act for items that do not apply to Cambria and compare its provisions to the Cambria Forest Management Plan.
The Forest Practice Act and Rules can be accessed at www.calfire.ca.gov/resource_mgt_forestpractice. Select 2019 Forest Practice Rules and Act under Forest Practice More Info. Interesting sections include Fuelbreak / Defensible Space on page 55, Harvesting Practices and Erosion Control on page 64, Wildlife Protection Practices on page 112, and Coastal Commission Special Treatment Areas on page 119.
Public and Director Comments:
Crosby referred those attending to the Forest Committee website for information.
JoEllen announced that the annual Wildflower show will be held April 13-14 at the Vets Hall.
Paul said that it’s easy to pull french broom at this time of year, after the rains. JoEllen offered FFRP’s pullers, weed wrenches, which are available to the public. Crosby pointed out that before it develops viable seed, it can be left on the ground. Otherwise, seed heads can be clipped off and disposed of in plastic bags in the garbage. Laura said that oxalis can be pulled now before it forms bulbs.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm
Next Meeting April 10, 2019