Letter: Fire Prevention Should Remain a Priority

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I want to thank the Laguna Beach Fire Department, and especially Ray Lardie—he has removed an incredible amount of dry vegetation not only in public areas, but he has diligently worked with many homeowners to remove dead/dying vegetation from their property. I don’t know how he did it, but he worked with some pretty reluctant folks who preferred to keep their yards “wild” and, well, a fire hazard. He has been removing Arundo and Pampas Grass, both listed as bad plants on the LB Fire Departments website—a good way to check what is good to plant and not to plant. Caltrans has also played an important part is clearing out the Canyon.

Unfortunately, the threat is not over and neither should be our vigilance. Hopefully this City Council will be able to draft a plan to take down the poles and provide some measure of safety, not only for those living in the canyon, but those who commute through the canyon, be they residents of our town or visitors. As we are seeing firsthand how many power poles have come down, how much they have added to the destruction the fire has played and of course power outages as a result; let’s rethink our responsibility to keep our city safe. I hope we can be more visionary and remove this threat from our town we often call paradise. Perhaps some people will look twice at their eucalyptus and palm trees as it seems that these trees played a crucial role in spreading the fire—it seems that tall trees did not catch embers and keep them from landing on houses as some folks in our town have claimed would happen. I also think of all the animals, domesticated or not, and wonder about how they will survive or have survived during this and its aftermath. I voted yes for Measure P and would so again.

We still have some Santa Anas in the weeks to come, so let’s keep vigilant and think about what we can do to mitigate replicating this horror our state is going through and help those who are in the midst of sorting out their lives.

Ganka Brown, Laguna Beach

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank God measure P failed. If you want the poles down, pay for your own neighborhood like everyone else. Anyone not smart enough to know this was another city money grab needs to wake up!

  2. Thanks for the fire safety reminder. Keeping public and private vegetation and particularly all trees in our city maintained should be mandatory not optional. Mr.Lardie was helpful in getting our neighbor to trim a huge palm tree that our neighbor has never maintained properly or regularly but it took two years to accomplish and even then a very poor job was done. This only happened because I got the CC and city manager involved. Mr. Lardie works part time on a problem that is ever present and therefore cannot make a dent in it unless a fire employee is assigned full time. Judging from the fire dept. budget of almost $10 million per year and substantial employee base,we should have a full timer assigned. I contacted the city about the Valido Trail in SL as it and the surrounding houses yards are filled with dead brush and are clearly a fire hazard to the SL village community. The city was supposedly working with the county to review it. I’ve received no follow up from the county or the city since my initial contact months ago. If Councilman Whalen were truly committed to fire safety within our city, he would first look at the obvious and immediate fire dangers we face such as unmanaged trees and yards full of visible trash and flammable items. Of course, this would mean he has to drive within the South Laguna village which apparently he only does during an election year. 2020 is two years away. Too long to wait for action. Lets demand more fire safety attention from our two new CC members and returning CC member Iseman to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our environments and ourselves. And, then explore our budget for measure LL and other funds and allocate to utility undergrounding where most urgent asap.

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