Santa Cruz' "Wildlands Project" Fire
|By Michael Shaw|
|Saturday, 24 May 2008 04:41|
Santa Cruz mountain residents awoke May 22, 2008 to a fast moving inferno that quickly spread to 3800 acres with no relief in sight. Growing gale winds fueled the fire. Steep ridges and dense redwood tree vegetation have created a largely inaccessible terrain. More than a dozen homes have burned to the ground. More losses are expected.
Landowners and forestry companies are not allowed to thin these forests. Some are so dense that wildlife have neither the room nor the ground vegetation necessary to utilize these lands. County officials have zoned much of the mountain for no timber cut and no use.
When serving on the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District during the 90’s I witnessed a federal official visiting our office who claimed that rural lands be subjected to a “make it burn” policy. Local environmental activists have long whispered that fire can be the tool necessary to enact ordinances to force residents out of the mountain and into the increasingly dense Smart Growth population centers being developed along the coastal rail line.
At this time, it is not possible to attribute the start of this fire to any specific action or inaction. Time will show how local Sustainable Developers will use this tragedy to harm or abolish mountain resident’s use of private property.
Santa Cruz' "Wildlands Project" Fire by Michael Shaw
Update: June 2008 Trabing Wildfire Santa Cruz County see KSBW News coverage