Time to send your letters in to the Board of Forestry to stop the ill advised push by Hopkins and Gore for unfettered commercial and residential development into the urban wildlife buffer where the fires are the most severe on narrow and fire prone areas. Who are they working for? Hearing next week on third appeal by our supervisors to put real estate interests ahead of public safety issues. JUST SAY NO. Please feel free to copy or write your own.
February 15, 2021
California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
1416 9th St
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Sonoma County’s Fire Regulations Certification
Dear Members of the Board of Forestry:
As the majority of Sonoma County is in another period of ”Severe” drought (NOAA Drought Monitor) it is not a matter of if but when the rest of the county goes up in flames. Over 24% of our county’s land area already has burnt in the last four years. Lives were lost trying to escape on narrow roads and just last year fire trucks were unable to save parts of Armstrong Woods due to inadequately small rural roads.
We are writing today with thoughts still fresh in our minds of the terror we must re-live each year due to bad governing and land use decisions that risk our lives and our property. The last horrific fire caused thousands of people to evacuate, many along narrow county roads that made evacuation necessary for the firefighters to be able to get through. Now we hear that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors are doubling down on a careless and dangerous plan to exempt all roads from CalFire regulations, not just the pre-1991 roads previously specified in the original Orwellian “Fire Safe Ordinance,” which you properly rejected. This is insanity.
Fire-safe roads is a public safety and public trust issue. It is not a cynical opportunity to streamline Board of Forestry fact-based regulations to allow unchecked growth into our most remote and increasingly fire prone regions. Fire insurance rates are climbing, and were it not for an expanded moratorium on cancellations, landowners in some areas would not be able to get any insurance. Allowing more rural growth along inadequately sized roads is no answer.
We are shocked that our County has persisted in its quest to deny reality and force through a fire safe road exemption. Development at all costs is clearly a failing strategy. Our County is losing population due to continual fires and smoke days with unhealthy air during a pandemic. Please deny this short sighted and perilous proposal by the Board of Supervisors. Protecting the residents ought to be your number one priority and mandate, bound by your oath of office.
Please protect us, you are our hope.
We urge you to enforce your rules and regulations to keep the public trust.
Wine & Water Watch Board Members:
Judith Jonville, Pamela Singer, Merrilyn Joyce, Janus Matthes, Deb Preston, Dr. Shepherd Bliss, Charlotte Williams, Tom Conlon