The San Francisco Peninsula Fire Safe Council would like to thank you for your interest in saving the San Francisco Bay Area from regional Complex Wildfire calamity. The Bay Area’s entire economy depends solely on securing and protecting the Hetch Hetchy Water System. When disaster strikes, it will inevitably destroy our citizen’s access to the water held in our watersheds in San Mateo County and the East Bay.
Within San Mateo County, 40,500 homes are classified at being high to extreme risk of complex wildfire damage. This extreme risk also extends to the Peninsula’s Crystal Spring reservoirs adjoining our water supply system.
The amount of fuel available to burn. The Eucalyptus litter and duff release an enormous amount of heat when burned, an astounding 12,000 btu’s per pound, or 24 million btu’s per ton. When 50 ton acres are present 1.2 billion (1,200,000,000) btu per acre is available to burn on the ground, not including leaves and bark still attached to the trees. If leaves and branches are burned, that’s additional heat produced (page 13).
The combination of a build-up of dead material, and the highly ignitable nature of the litter creates the potential for fire behavior which could exceed the ability of the finest fire department to control. Eucalyptus is very aggressive in its ability to spread, and without containment, more of the open space will fall into this explosive type of behavior.
Where We Stand: At Risk and Underprepared – In a word what we’re not addressing is Eucalyptus. A catastrophic wildfire will cause irreversible damage to our reservoirs, destroy our homes, economy and deeply impact our way of life for decades to come.
On April 14, 2021 Cal Fire provided the San Mateo County Midcoast Community Council with a very comprehensive fuel management plan addressing eucalyptus with estimated costs approaching $150 to $250 million and a estimated timeline of ten to twelve years to complete the Quarry Park fuel removal plan similar to the San Diego parks eucalyptus project. Simply put, there is no foreseeable plan regarding San Mateo County’s “Eucalyptus WUI” fuel loads!
What is the Cal-Fire Plan? Immediately Evacuate All People In Threatened Areas of the San Francisco Peninsula.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services provides MyHazards, an app/tool for the general public that supports property owners, and assists to uncover hazards in their area of California from earthquake, flood, fire, tsunami, etc. and to learn the steps to reduce personal risk. Download the MyHazards app from the.gov website, and tell others of this valuable resource.
The Real Problem
The Lack of Will, Not Money. In an affluent region where billions of dollars are collected annually by the San Francisco City / County government, there is a predisposition to assign fire prevention and suppression to a poor cousin long before other infrastructure and services needs are met. And in an affluent region where billions of dollars from around the world enter the economy every week, why is there no “white knight” amongst the technology giants and captains that has stepped forward to address this shortfall? Aside from having all the money in the world but no will to use it, just how do we finance such an important public work? As California enters a new era of climate uncertainty in which cataclysmic fires could be the “new normal”, people can minimize fire risk by choosing not to live in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), areas that are identified as fire hazard zones due to the presence of flammable vegetation.
Fuel Management Reduction
The Reset Necessary for Environmental Safety Requires a Wildfire & Fuel Management Plan. “The safety of our public lands and adjoining communities is San Francisco Peninsula Fire Safe Council’s top priority. Reducing fuel loads and removing non-native tree species will improve the health of the San Mateo County parks and open space lands and decrease the risk of a catastrophic wildfire.” Said Laura E. Joss, General Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
- Non-native pine, eucalyptus, cypress, cotoneasters and broom near the park boundary and adjacent to residential communities will be removed.
- Removal of non-native trees and shrubs will improve grassland habitat for native plant species such as Hickman’s cinquefoil which is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
- Large trees to be removed will be flagged 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the project.
- Fuel reduction efforts will lower the wildfire hazard on park land and provide safer access for firefighters during suppression actions if a wildfire should occur.
- Trees will be climbed up to remove “ladder fuels” so lower branches will not carry fire from the ground into treetops. Chipping of tree material will be done on-site and dispersed throughout the area.
- Visitors may experience temporary closures or detours while the fuel reduction work is being performed. Signs will be posted informing visitors which trails are closed.
In 1994, the San Francisco Water Department published the San Francisco Watershed Management Plans Department Public Opinion Survey Report (POSR) Their Executive Summary answers the question: “What watershed management goals are most important to the public?”, and also found that water users feel that the greatest role for the SFPUC is to “limit access to the watershed”, to restrict human degradation and threat of the reservoirs. SFPUC needs to act as chief authority in securing this resource. This is a tried and true historical measure for protecting watersheds meant for large human populations. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area situated in and around San Francisco including the San Francisco Peninsula Watershed is the most visited park in the National Park Service, hosting more than 15 million visitors in 2019. While it is easy to point at the hundreds of fires along the west coast and blame them on climate change, 90 percent of wildfires are in fact human caused according to Catastrophes Facts + Statistics: Wildfires 2020 Report. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, Save Our Bay (aka California Watershed Posse) has monitored the STOP’S Pollution Control Efforts in San Mateo County and Eco-terrorism impacting the San Francisco Peninsula Watershed.
On January 20, 2021 President Biden opened the Southern borders of the United States inviting all who wanted to enter the U.S. where welcome. The Mexican Cartels immediately took control of our Southern borders and are rapidly expanding Areas of Influence nationwide throughout the United States. FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 10, 2021. “There’s no question that the cartel activity on the other side of the border is spilling over in all sorts of ways, and you just put your finger directly on one that is extremely concerning to us all,” Wray said. Director Wray’s comment referred to people indebted to cartels being forced into what amounts to modern-day slavery, as mentioned by McClintock. “Basically, 170-plus years after the Thirteenth Amendment, [we] have slavery burgeoning in this country as a result of these policies,” McClintock said, presumably referring to the Biden administration’s policies on immigration. “It’s a “modern form of slavery,” Wray said. “It’s almost Medieval.”
California Is On Fire Again And We Can Prevent Another Fire In Paradise! Drought is sapping California reservoirs as hot, dry summer looms. Running out of water and time: How unprepared is California for 2021’s drought? How much in higher water bills would the public be willing to pay for greater public access? 55% of respondents are willing to pay $1 or more per month for their water in order to fund additional water treatment, protective services and greater public access. According to the POSR (Section 2.10) the water users surveyed reported a willingness to pay $1 per month or more in order to secure the SFPUC watersheds on either side of the San Francisco Bay. Advancements in fuel management technologies make this goal attainable for $25 per month.
Our Fire Safe Council proposes a Public / Private Partnership with SFPUC that will help fund the services needed to manage our watersheds and prevent catastrophic complex wildfires, in perpetuity. For $25 per month the 2.7 million Bay Area water users accounts can accomplish this goal together, and prevent a San Francisco Peninsula Watershed Perfect Fire Storm.
Our Save Our Watershed Campaign Will Begin Here
1. Engage the expertise of Forest Fuel Management Specialists
2. Remove Thousands of tons of dead trees and brush fuel from El Granada’s Quarry-Wicklow by completing the Wicklow Fuel Management Plan by December 2024.
3. Educate the residents and San Mateo County stakeholders how to protect their property in the event of wildfire.
Half Moon Bay Coastside Foundation is organized under the California 501(C) 3 Nonprofit Benefit Corporation Law for charitable purposes. We are dedicated to the advocacy of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and a coalition member of the Water Quality Protection Program that endeavors to preserve clean water, marine and watershed resources within its boundaries. The far reach of the Sanctuary borders extends from San Francisco Bay south all the way to Cambria in San Luis Obispo County. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a gift all of us can share. And all of US must work together. Our California Watershed Posse and San Francisco Peninsula Fire Safe Council in the Water Quality Protection Program.