|MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM CALIFORNIA FIRE NEWS|
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
SUIT FILED TO PROTECT RARE SPECIES AND A PRICELESS LANDSCAPEIN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY’S COASTAL MOUNTAINS
Santa Barbara, Calif. – Today, two conservation organizations filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to protect fragile habitat and rare species in the path of a massive, remote fuel break recently approved in the Los Padres National Forest. The suit is also an effort to encourage the Los Padres National Forest to focus on reducing fire risk where it matters most, directly in and around communities.
The Gaviota Fuel Break would clear-cut native chaparral habitat across a six-mile-long, 300-foot-wide swath (the length of a football field) between Refugio Pass and Gaviota Peak, along the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The site – located far away from any structures – lies at the heart of the Gaviota Coast, one of the crown jewels of Santa Barbara County.
Ironically, the Forest Service’s experts consistently state that the best way to protect communities from wildfire is to create defensible space immediately around structures, and to construct and retrofit homes with fire-safe materials. Remote fuel breaks, such as the one at issue in today’s lawsuit, are an inefficient way to reduce fire risk. In fact, the Forest Service ranks the Gaviota Fuel Break project with a low priority score of 84 out of a total of 163 fuel breaks in the Forest.
“Creating a 300-foot-wide, six-mile-long habitat clearance zone in an area far from any community is a waste of taxpayer dollars, an ineffective way to reduce fire risk, and an unnecessary destruction of nature,” said Richard Halsey, director of the California Chaparral Institute. “The science is clear. The Forest Service needs to focus its fire prevention efforts directly within and around communities at risk, not in faraway locations known for their spectacular natural beauty.”
The key species that will be seriously threatened by the Gaviota Fuel Break is the beautiful Refugio manzanita (Arctostaphylos refugioensis). Considered “endangered” by the California Native Plant Society, the classic icon of the chaparral only grows in a narrow ridgeline band between Point Conception and Santa Ynez Peak along the coast of Santa Barbara County – exactly where the Gaviota Fuel Break is scheduled to run. The fuel break would cut through some of manzanita’s largest populations.
“In rushing to approve this project, the Forest Service has failed to take simple steps to protect one of the rarest manzanita species on Earth,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch, a conservation organization based in Santa Barbara that works to protect rare plants and animals throughout the Los Padres National Forest. “The Refugio manzanita is too important to sacrifice for an ineffective, expensive fuel break that is far-removed from communities.”
When the Forest Service initially announced the project in 2014, officials indicated they would carefully examine ways to avoid negative impacts by preparing an Environmental Assessment. But the agency suddenly reversed course in 2015. Ignoring previous collaborative efforts with conservation groups and scientists, the agency determined the project was excluded from environmental review. The decision was based on the claim that the project was a “timber stand improvement.” There is no merchantable timber in the area.
In the lawsuit, the groups – Los Padres ForestWatch and the California Chaparral Institute – ask the court to order the Forest Service to conduct the proper level of environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of the Gaviota Fuel Break before it can proceed and to implement the project consistent with the Los Padres Forest Plan.
“The Forest Service cannot stretch the language of their NEPA categorical exclusions like taffy,” said Nina Robertson, an attorney with Earthrise Law Center who is representing the groups filing the lawsuit. “An exclusion for timber stand improvement does not cover construction of multiple fuel breaks in areas with no timber and where those fuel breaks are destroying the important chaparral ecosystem and the rare and sensitive species that exist there.”Photo: The ridgeline and trail where the fragile chaparral habitat will be clear cut, 150 feet on either side of the road, the length of a football field. Refugio manzanita can be seen on the right.
California Chaparral Institute is a nonprofit, research, and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of native shrubland habitats throughout the world, with a particular focus on chaparral ecosystems in California.
Los Padres ForestWatch is the only local nonprofit organization working to protect wildlife, wilderness, and watersheds throughout the Los Padres National Forest, from the Big Sur Coast to the backcountry of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties and beyond.
Founded in 1996, Earthrise Law Center is the environmental legal clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon with an office in San Francisco. Earthrise Law Center is a team of attorneys and staff working to achieve targeted environmental improvement while teaching the next generation of advocates to do the same.
Richard W. Halsey
P.O. Box 545
Escondido, CA 92033
Sunday, December 4, 2016
BREAKING: White House calls StandingRockSioux DAPL Easement canceled.
The Obama administration and the Army Corps of Engineers have refused to grant an easement for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands of protestors are reportedly celebrating, after blocking the proposed route of the pipeline for months.
|Standing Rock Sioux Statement Regarding USACOE Decision Not To Grant DAPL Easement|
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) December 4, 2016Army Corps halts Dakota Access Pipeline work, tells Standing Rock the current route for the pipeline will be denied.
Celebrating Victory for #StandingRock in Hollywood.— GayDaysLA 🏳️🌈❤️ (@gaydaysLA) December 4, 2016
Proud of all the warriors on the ground. #NoDAPL #powertothepeople pic.twitter.com/hfEsHYNLOh
— USACE HQ (@USACEHQ) November 14, 2016
NOV. 14TH ACOE Statement Regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Oakland Rave Fire Updates:
Update 12-5-16 0900 hrs: The meticulous search for bodies in the rubble of a devastating Fruitvale District warehouse fire neared its final stages Tuesday morning, and crews were hopeful that the current death toll of 36 would not rise.
Fire and recovery crews completed about 85 percent of their search by , and authorities said they’d begin combing through the final bit of debris after stabilizing a front corner of the building also known as the “Ghost Ship”. Officials suspended the search around to address that concern, then resumed their search around
Update 12-4-16 2200 hrs: Death toll at 36, After working for 52 hours straight, rescuers had to halt their search late Sunday, said Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton. There are areas of the structure where an exterior wall is leaning inward and interior walls and the roof have caved in. Other parts of the structure are hanging precariously, she said.Roughly 30% of the two-story building remains to be searched.
Update 12-4-16 1600 hrs: Body count is 33 dead now.
Update 12-4-16 1300 hrs: Investigators asking families to supply DNA samples as the search for bodies continues in Oakland. 30 dead so far.
Update 12-4-16 1200 hrs: Authorities say 20% of the building has been searched. Kelly said names of the victims could be released in the next 24 hours.
Update 12-4-16 1000 hrs: The death toll has risen to 24 in the warehouse fire in Oakland, California. Officials say it could take days to search through the rubble.
9 dead, 25 unaccounted for in three-alarm Oakland fire
The two-story warehouse structure fire was first reported Friday night at 11:30 p.m., on 31st Avenue and International Boulevard.
|OAKLAND MCI RAVE FIRE|
Anywhere from 50-100 people were in the small building where a fire broke out at what some are calling a "rave".
The roof of the building collapsed down to the second floor.
There are still large portions of the building that has not been searched.
Fire officials say they do not believe the building had sprinklers.
|OAKLAND MCI RAVE WAREHOUSE FIRE|
Fire first reported Friday night, There were about 50-people inside the building, according to firefighters. Fire officials say they do not believe the building had sprinklers.
Fire is out
At least 9 people are confirmed dead and 25 others are unaccounted for in a three-alarm fire at a warehouse in Oakland where people were having a party.
Alameda County Sheriffs Office Sergeant J.D. Nelson says the building is not safe enough to enter. He also says the coroner's office is preparing for 40 or more bodies. No bodies have been removed from the building. Nelson says this is the largest mass casualty they have prepared for since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed says the cause is unknown and a task force will be assisting with the investigation.
The party had a band and was scheduled to have performances at this venue from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. The event was a part of the "Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour".
The building houses a group of artists and their studios, according to police.
When the fire broke out, firefighters had to take a "defensive position", meaning they could not go inside the building until they made sure it would not spread further.
Police are asking anyone looking for missing persons associate with this fire to contact the Alameda County Sheriff's Coroner's Bureau at 510-382-3000.
Task Force assessing structural safety and preparing to enter the building for recovery
A list of those thought to be missing on the band's Facebook page can be found here.
More info: http://www.ktvu.com/news/221282720-story
****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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