Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CA-CZU Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Prescribed Fire

Henry Cowell State Park – Fuel Reduction Prescribed Fire 

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit

FELTON –  The California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and CAL FIRE are planning to ignite a 9 acre prescribed burn near the observation platform at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on Wednesday, May 31st.

 The project is being conducted in accordance with a Smoke Management Permit issued by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities. 

 This burn is being conducted to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and to maintain rare Ponderosa Pine Sandhills Parkland habitat, which relies on fire to maintain a healthy ecosystem. It is the continuation of a prescribed burn conducted in the same area last year.

 The Henry Cowell Observation Platform Prescribed Burn also affords important training opportunities to wildland firefighters for the approaching fire season. Drivers on Graham Hill Road and nearby residents should expect to see smoke on the 31st and it should be no cause for alarm.

 The Henry Cowell area has been the scene of numerous human caused fires over the past 5 years. The expansion of this project, in addition to environmental enhancement, provides additional fire protection for nearby residential areas.

 As the state enters the dry season when wildfires are regularly encountered, CAL FIRE recommends the public take extra care when working with fire and to be alert and report any fires that they observe escaping control. So far, this month, the San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit has responded to seven wildland fires in the unit. 

For more information about how you can protect your home and property from wildfire, visit http://www.readyforwildfire.org/.

CONTACT: Sarah Collamer
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

Suspected arsonist arrested in series of Highway 18 fires

One of three spot fires just below the Crestline Bride set by an alleged arsonist on Monday evening, May 1. (Photo courtesy of San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department)

Sunday, May 07, 2017
By Douglas W. Motley

A 27-year-old Cedar Glen man was taken into custody late Monday in connection with three arson fires that broke out around 8:07 p.m. Monday, May 1. The three spot fires, reportedly ignited by a flare gun, burned approximately seven acres of dense brush alongside Highway 18 just below the Crestline Bridge.
According to a news release from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station, multiple witnesses reported a male subject, later identified as Benjamin Andrew Baptiste, attempting to start a fire just below the Highway 138 cut off below Crestline. Numerous 911 calls from motorists were received reporting Baptiste was armed with a firearm and carrying an axe. Baptiste also was reported to be throwing rocks at a passing vehicle.
Baptiste reportedly ran down the highway, fled over the side and headed down toward Lower Bonnie Canyon, below the highway, where he lit an additional fire in dense brush below the highway. Highway 18 was closed to all traffic from the Cliffhanger to Sierra Way for several hours while law enforcement officers scoured the area for the suspected arsonist’s whereabouts.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff’s Department, CHP, San Bernardino Police Department, Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service, along with K9s from the Sheriff’s Department and Montclair Police Department, participated in the search. A perimeter was established as Sheriff’s and CHP helicopters used FLIR thermal imaging systems to search for the suspect in the dense brush.
Baptiste was subsequently located on the side of the highway near Mormon Road around 10:22 p.m. and taken into custody without incident. He was treated by paramedics for multiple lacerations from the brush and burns to his hands and arms and then transported to the Sheriff’s West Valley Detention Center, where he was booked on multiple counts of arson.
According to scanner reports, progress on containing the blazes was slow due to difficulty in accessing the rugged terrain where the fires were burning. At least a dozen fire engines from Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service and County Fire, assisted by a hand crew from Glen Helen, worked throughout the night and early morning hours to gain control of flare-ups that kept occurring in perimeter areas.
The Sheriff’s Department is requesting that anyone who may have witnessed the suspect or who have any other information regarding the investigation to contact Deputy Brian Butts at the Twin Peaks Sheriff ‘s Station at (909) 336-0600.

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****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.

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." --Abraham Lincoln

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