Compliance with fire regulations slip...

Compliance with fire regulations slipping in rural areas

There are 29 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Sep 8, 2010, titled Compliance with fire regulations slipping in rural areas. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

Despite two consecutive years of wildfires and an increased awareness of the threat, Santa Cruz Mountains residents are not safeguarding their homes from fire as much as they have in the past.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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TreelessInSc

Santa Cruz, CA

#1 Sep 8, 2010
Fire hazard is the logging site's Sampson has wrote permits for! Go and look at the last few years of his style logging jobs!
megan j

Santa Cruz, CA

#2 Sep 8, 2010
send the notice to the insurance agent. notify the homeowner that the insurance will be canceled if regulations are not followed. 30 days the first time and 15 days the following year.
done.
roughrider

Santa Cruz, CA

#3 Sep 8, 2010
My blood pressure goes up every year when the Sentinel prints virtually the same column regarding clearing brush.
For the past eighteen years I have cleared brush and trees on property that is part of a SLV watershed (maybe) or is owned by a long-time valley family (maybe).
Well, guess what, I'm pushing 70 years now and can't physically do it, nor can I afford the 1K it cost two years ago to hire help with the work.
This woman is tired of brush clearing, why doesn't Cal Fire take some slow drives along Felton Empire and check out the side roads, speak to those of us who can't figure out just who is responsble for adjacent property overgrown with brush that must be cleared by hand? In fact, Cal Fire could just as easily check with the wacky tabaccy helicopter that seems intent on flying too low on a weekly basis.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#4 Sep 8, 2010
This typical behavior of the american people..(not all) Same goes with earthquakes, floods, you name it..people have the attitude "its not going to happen to me" ..yeah right!! They get all hot to trot to get that defensible space..then let it get bakc to the way it was....and they wonder why during a major fire, engines drive right by their houses..in order to save a house that can be saved...Johnny at the Harbor, Nothing to clear here..
Karen

Marina, CA

#5 Sep 8, 2010
roughrider wrote:
My blood pressure goes up every year when the Sentinel prints virtually the same column regarding clearing brush.
For the past eighteen years I have cleared brush and trees on property that is part of a SLV watershed (maybe) or is owned by a long-time valley family (maybe).
Well, guess what, I'm pushing 70 years now and can't physically do it, nor can I afford the 1K it cost two years ago to hire help with the work.
This woman is tired of brush clearing, why doesn't Cal Fire take some slow drives along Felton Empire and check out the side roads, speak to those of us who can't figure out just who is responsble for adjacent property overgrown with brush that must be cleared by hand? In fact, Cal Fire could just as easily check with the wacky tabaccy helicopter that seems intent on flying too low on a weekly basis.
I have the same concern about the vacant parcel next door. No one has cleared the brush in years other than our attempts to at least clear it far enough away from our property line to stay withing regulations. What kicks off an inspection? I'd sure like to see the owners have to deal with it and I wouldn't mind having them take a look at our property too and let us know if we've missed anything of concern.
regulations

Santa Cruz, CA

#7 Sep 8, 2010
Part of the problem arises from the regulations themselves, which seem to have been written by people unfamiliar with real-life situations.

For instance, it's suggested that trees be thinned so they're 30 feet apart on slopes. In many areas, this would involve removing 60 to 90% of redwoods or Douglas firs, including many large, older trees.

The Cal Fire people seem to "interpret" regulations reasonably, but an exacting application would be disastrous for the ecology and for many property owners, and could provide a rationale for denial of insurance or imposition of inappropriate fines.
Ex Liberal

United States

#8 Sep 8, 2010
..."Homeowners in the rural areas, per state law, are required to maintain a "defensible space" around their home, meaning clearing most vegetation within 30 feet of the house and trimming back bushes and trees within 100 feet."

Herein lies the problem;

Here in Liberal-Land tree-hugging Santa Cruz, Liberal Environmentalists will never cut a tree down what ever the circumstances present. On top of this, they actually believe the planet would be better served with the demise of the human occupation. Just look at the recent declaration of last weeks Discovery Channel bombing hostage taker, Jason J. Lee, who was a far left mainstream environmentalist practioner and true believer of the Al Gore,m Inconveneient Truth and Mr. Quinn's book!

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and his theory of survival of the fittest is displayed on a daily basis here in Liberal Land and these folks would normally be the first to suffer a tragic, sudden and untimely demise based on their inability to display common sense activity such as cutting and removing trees within 100 feet while residing in a forested area and voluntarily using drugs to alter their physical/mental perceptions for recreational purposes! These typically would be the first to suffer an untimely demise! Typical Darwin Award applicants which can be found easily in Liberal bastions such as Santa Cruz!
Ex Liberal

United States

#9 Sep 8, 2010
regulations wrote:
Part of the problem arises from the regulations themselves, which seem to have been written by people unfamiliar with real-life situations.
For instance, it's suggested that trees be thinned so they're 30 feet apart on slopes. In many areas, this would involve removing 60 to 90% of redwoods or Douglas firs, including many large, older trees.
The Cal Fire people seem to "interpret" regulations reasonably, but an exacting application would be disastrous for the ecology and for many property owners, and could provide a rationale for denial of insurance or imposition of inappropriate fines.
Thank you for stepping forward as a prime example of one of the true believers and followers of the environmentalist mental disorder infesting Liberals! I'll forward an application for your submit on your behalf to the 2101 Darwin Awards committee!
Reader remarks

Atherton, CA

#10 Sep 8, 2010
What are the consequences for home owners who don't comply? I see overgrown and dried out yards in town. Are they fined? Old growth trees often have many dry branches and bark, especially eucalyptus which become torches spreading fire over many acres. Clear them out first.
Fairseas

United States

#11 Sep 8, 2010
Its really dumb not to clean things up....but the county also violates its own laws...on Granite Creek tree limbs hang too low over the road way causing damage to RV's, and towed vehicles that cant safely pass under...this would also cause fire trucks to have their equipment hit and damaged...limbs also hang over wires...I have seen broken heavy branchs hung up in the other limbs just waiting to drop on a bicyclists...we call those "widow makers"..
Reality Check

San Jose, CA

#12 Sep 8, 2010
Ex Liberal wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for stepping forward as a prime example of one of the true believers and followers of the environmentalist mental disorder infesting Liberals! I'll forward an application for your submit on your behalf to the 2101 Darwin Awards committee!
So in your view people should move to the forest, then cut it down?
While I understand the regs for fire safety, one also has to acknowledge aesthetics.
A 50x30 home would need 57,500 square feet (1.32 acres) of area trimmed of trees and brush. In many communities, that would leave the equivalent of barren desert in an oasis of trees, with maybe a few trees between houses. Not everyone who lives in the mountains has a five acre spread.
regulations

Santa Cruz, CA

#13 Sep 8, 2010
Ex Liberal wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for stepping forward as a prime example of one of the true believers and followers of the environmentalist mental disorder infesting Liberals! I'll forward an application for your submit on your behalf to the 2101 Darwin Awards committee!
You'd probably be surprised how often I agree with many of your posts... but in this case, I'm sorry: you've been blinded by over-reliance on knee-jerk ideology, and your post is idiotic.

What I wrote has nothing to do with being an "environmentalist" or a "Liberal" (which I'm most surely not), and everything to do with being practical. People who have lived in close proximity with wilderness understand this.
Karen

Marina, CA

#14 Sep 8, 2010
I'm not sure that I could even get the permits in the coastal zone to remove all of the old Douglas Firs, madrones and tan oaks that I would need to remove unless the fire and planning regulation differences have been resolved and even then I couldn't afford it and I don't want to take out a dozen very old and large trees and disturb that much habitat. Limbing them up is the best we can do with the largest ones. There's no excuse for not getting the brush taken care of though.
Carnack

United States

#15 Sep 8, 2010
Ex Liberal wrote:
Here in Liberal-Land tree-hugging Santa Cruz, Liberal Environmentalists will never cut a tree down what ever the circumstances present. On top of this, they actually believe the planet would be better served with the demise of the human occupation.
Yours is the most idiotic post I've read, and there are many on this forum, so that says something. The people who live in the mountains here are nothing like you've characterized. Go back into your hole.
Carnack

United States

#16 Sep 8, 2010
Karen wrote:
I'm not sure that I could even get the permits in the coastal zone to remove all of the old Douglas Firs, madrones and tan oaks that I would need to remove unless the fire and planning regulation differences have been resolved and even then I couldn't afford it and I don't want to take out a dozen very old and large trees and disturb that much habitat. Limbing them up is the best we can do with the largest ones. There's no excuse for not getting the brush taken care of though.
The brush clearing is the most important, followed by smaller unhealthy trees and limbing up the older ones. The biggest issues I see are that many of the roadsides are not cleared of brush, and many property owners are not clearing out the small tan oaks and brush that grow under the canopy. For example, take a look at the side of Mt Hermon between SV and Felton, it's a disaster waiting to happen, and could be largely ameliorated by simply trimming back the brush from the roadside.
Carnack

United States

#17 Sep 8, 2010
Reality Check wrote:
<quoted text>
So in your view people should move to the forest, then cut it down?
While I understand the regs for fire safety, one also has to acknowledge aesthetics.
A 50x30 home would need 57,500 square feet (1.32 acres) of area trimmed of trees and brush. In many communities, that would leave the equivalent of barren desert in an oasis of trees, with maybe a few trees between houses. Not everyone who lives in the mountains has a five acre spread.
That Ex Liberal guy seems to live in some fantasy world where "evil liberals" are hiding under every rock. I'm not a liberal, but I find Ex Liberal's comments extreme, and it isn't liberals that are the problem, it's a lack of dialog. Nonetheless, I guess it will pop his gasket to know that non-liberals also like trees.

To your point, I have 1.25 acres, and keep the brush and small trees cleared 30' around the house. Older redwoods are limbed up, and the fire dept thus has defensible access to the perimeter. The rest of the property has natural forest. Am I technically in compliance? Probably not because compliance is 100' clearance, which as you point out, is a fully barren parcel and just isn't realistic.
Gibberish

Alviso, CA

#18 Sep 8, 2010
TreelessInSc wrote:
Fire hazard is the logging site's Sampson has wrote permits for! Go and look at the last few years of his style logging jobs!
Huh?
Gibberish

Alviso, CA

#19 Sep 8, 2010
megan j wrote:
send the notice to the insurance agent. notify the homeowner that the insurance will be canceled if regulations are not followed. 30 days the first time and 15 days the following year.
done.
Idiotic. Don't you think insurance companies do their own "inspections"? They can send out their agents to do drive-by inspections or, in the case of properties not visible from the road, they hire people to photograph the properties from the air. And if your home is overgrown, you may be dropped without a chance to fix the problem.
Gibberish

Alviso, CA

#20 Sep 8, 2010
Carnack wrote:
<quoted text>
That Ex Liberal guy seems to live in some fantasy world where "evil liberals" are hiding under every rock. I'm not a liberal, but I find Ex Liberal's comments extreme, and it isn't liberals that are the problem, it's a lack of dialog. Nonetheless, I guess it will pop his gasket to know that non-liberals also like trees.
To your point, I have 1.25 acres, and keep the brush and small trees cleared 30' around the house. Older redwoods are limbed up, and the fire dept thus has defensible access to the perimeter. The rest of the property has natural forest. Am I technically in compliance? Probably not because compliance is 100' clearance, which as you point out, is a fully barren parcel and just isn't realistic.
Agree about Ex-Lib. The guy needs to get a life.

You are in error about the 100' buffer zone being barren, though. Even the 30' zone needn't be bare. The requirements are that whatever is within 30' is well watered, is not hanging over the house, is not exceptionally flammable (preferably, it's fire suppressive), and is trimmed back and up to the point where you have no ladder fuels that lead to the structure. Between 30' and 100', you should have a recommended amount of space between limbed-up trees (the space decreases with distance, and increases with slope), no huge areas of scrub, brush or hedges. here is a good PDF brochure from the CDF:

http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloa...

I have a couple neighbors who go for the Nuked Acres look. My place is more natural but is managed according to the requirements. Do they resent my trees? Probably. But the property is mine, and I'll keep it how I want it.
Gibberish

Alviso, CA

#21 Sep 8, 2010
Carnack wrote:
<quoted text>
The brush clearing is the most important, followed by smaller unhealthy trees and limbing up the older ones. The biggest issues I see are that many of the roadsides are not cleared of brush, and many property owners are not clearing out the small tan oaks and brush that grow under the canopy. For example, take a look at the side of Mt Hermon between SV and Felton, it's a disaster waiting to happen, and could be largely ameliorated by simply trimming back the brush from the roadside.
Yes, that roadside brush scares the bejeebers out of me. Especially when it's mostly broom.

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