New Times / News
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 43
Fire season starts on the Central Coast
By PATRICK M. KLEMZ
The Central Coast’s first major wildfire this season lasted almost a week and burned 4,346 acres in and around the Los Padres National Forest southeast of the Carrizo Plain.
The Grand Fire burned on the eastern slope of the San Emigdio Mountains, about 12 miles from the hiking destination Mount Pinos.
Pushed up the mountainside by strong winds, the flames revealed a small field of marijuana growing on U.S. Forest Service land.
“It was partially burned when our fire guys came up on it,” Los Padres public affairs officer Andrew Madsen said. “Some guys were doing some gardening up there.”
Cal Fire reported the Grand Fire 80 percent contained by dusk on May 18, just three days after it started. However, crews took an additional 3 1/2 days to completely put out the fire because of difficult terrain and unpredictable winds.
“It’s hard whenever you have a fire wind driven and upslope,” Madsen said. “There’s patches where it’s real steep terrain.”
On May 15, the Grand Fire moved extremely close to the rural community of Frazier Park, forcing an evacuation of the local high school. According to staff at the Kern County Sheriff’s Department mountain outpost in Frazier Park, a sudden change in the winds pushed the fire very near the school before the winds changed again.
Cal Fire also put out a 35-acre brush fire northeast of Cayucos on May 20. Traffic on Highway 46 could see the smoke rising from Thunder Canyon until crews managed to contain the blaze that evening.
The Sun takes two first place awards in Better Newspapers Contest Political Watch 5/5/16 Community Notebook 5/5/16 - 5/12/16 Strength and survival: State and local agencies reach out to help victims move forward with their lives Growers, residents in Santa Maria area clash over housing for H2-A farmworkers County seats: Seven candidates vie for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors 3rd and 4th District positions Capps endorses Central Coast marine sanctuary proposal