I would like to take a few moments to share several recent fire safety updates, including improved fuel breaks, new wildfire cameras, and our current efforts with researching fire insurance options. In addition, we’re inviting you to our Firewise Community Event on Thursday, April 14th. Read on for full details, and stay safe out there.
Preserve COO & CSD General Manager
Partnering with CAL FIRE
In August 2021, due to the favorable vote of the community in regard to fire planning, the Community Services District hired Emily Aiken (pictured above) as the new full-time Fire and Fuels Management Specialist. Emily has since hit the ground running with wildfire preplanning and preparedness. One aspect of her new position is to serve as The Preserve’s liaison, roping our local fire agencies and neighboring organizations alike into strategizing and preplanning for wildfire.
She has engaged CAL FIRE and the Santa Lucia Conservancy in re-evaluating historical fuel breaks, with the goal to breathe new life into containment lines constructed during the 2016 Soberanes Fire. These containment lines have been confirmed by CAL FIRE as valuable resources to mount an attack to stop a fire from advancing towards our community. As a result of Emily’s hard work, in 2022 you may see more fire personnel on premises as one of the pre-planning objectives is for CAL FIRE crews to conduct area familiarization, which will help increase their safety and tactical knowledge during an incident.
Conservancy Fuel Breaks
Relatedly, the Santa Lucia Conservancy was recently awarded a CAL FIRE grant to conduct shaded fuel break work along paved roads within The Preserve and along Robinson Canyon Road, promoting safe ingress and egress. Please click here for a map of the proposed fuel break areas in The Preserve along with the Palo Corona/White Rock Ridge fuel break (White Rock Ridge). CAL FIRE recently completed 964 acres of fuel reduction work along the entire length of the fire road that starts at White Rock and ends in the Carmel Highlands. This impressive fuel break will enhance protection from wildfires occurring south of that line in the Ventana Wilderness.
New Wildfire Cameras
We have increased our situational awareness by installing two ALERT Wildfire Cameras (Cam 1, Cam 2) at the top of the Peñon Peak fire tower, where everyone can access live video feeds from these cameras. We plan to install an additional camera on top of Hall’s Ridge, providing a vantage point over the Rancho San Carlos canyon. In the event of a wildfire spotting, CAL FIRE will take control over the point, zoom and tilt functions of the cameras to focus on the targeted area.
Fire Insurance Update
As you well know, insurance for homeowners residing in California is still a risky business. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is currently proposing legislation that would force carriers to recognize a landowner or community’s fire mitigation efforts when considering new policies, raising premiums, or canceling existing policies. This is something we’ll continue to keep a close eye on.
We have also been working with Fortress Wildfire Insurance Group, a startup company that is developing a model to better evaluate a home’s robustness against wildfire. The model is based on more refined parameters than those traditionally used by insurance companies to score a home’s ability to survive a wildfire, with the goal of providing homeowners with evidence toward supporting the cause for reduced insurance premiums.
If you are experiencing any difficulties with maintaining or securing property insurance at The Preserve, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. This way, we can provide you with current information and resources to assist in your cause. All past communications, information, and resources can also be found on the Community Services District website https://www.santaluciacsd.org/
Firewise Community Event
Lastly, we’re inviting you to join us at the Event Barn on Thursday, April 14th from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. for our first Firewise Community Event. The new Firewise Board is hoping to bring everyone together to celebrate our new status, lay out our plans, and answer questions.
Part of our new Firewise status involves developing a multi-year action plan, which was recently certified, and we look forward to engaging and informing the community about all that’s in store, what we’ve already accomplished, and how we’re linking up with a broader local network of Firewise Communities in the Carmel Valley region.
We hope to have you with us! Please note that the presentation will be recorded and provided online for community members not able to attend in-person.