When firefighting aircraft battled the so-called “Bridge Fire” near Scott Rock in Cambria on Friday, July 24, the pilots drew water from a variety of sources in and near the drought-stricken community in which residents have set state records for water conservation.
Among those water sources were the Pacific Ocean, near Leffingwell Landing, and a reservoir on Clyde Warren’s ranch on San Simeon Creek Road. Cal Fire recently registered the reservoir and put it on their state map of water-supply resources.
Warren said Tuesday, July 28, that he installed the reservoir bladders and liners in March and filled the reservoir in May from an irrigation well.
Last month, Warren offered Cal Fire emergency access to the reservoir for fighting wildfires. He said, “They came and looked at it, liked it” and recently registered it as an approved site from which to take water.
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“I didn’t think they’d use it that quick,” Warren said, “but I’m glad it was there for them to use.”
The reservoir, which holds about 255,000 gallons, is above the Warren rock quarry, adjacent to a canyon Warren proposed for a Cambria Community Services District reservoir in the 1990s and since.
Warren has two such reservoirs he can fill with water to use for irrigating fields on his ranch, although he’s not currently irrigating. This year, he filled them so firefighters would have access to water for battling wildfires.
Combined capacity of the two reservoirs is about 500,000 gallons. He fills them from an irrigation well on CCSD property in the San Simeon Creek aquifer. After winning a lawsuit years ago, Warren gave up his riparian rights to water in that area in exchange for a certain amount of water each year from the district’s 9P2 well.
The reservoir water is different and separate from the nonpotable water Warren sells to the public for 3 cents a gallon. That water comes from a Warren well in the Van Gordon Creek aquifer. The buyers can use it to irrigate gardens and for other outdoor uses that are off-limits to CCSD customers accessing drinkable water from the district’s supply wells.
Cal Fire also recently installed a portable, remote automated weather station on Warren’s property. As Alan Peters, Cal Fire unit forester, told CCSD directors July 23, the localized weather reporting station will “allow operational folks to make decisions based on the weather” in real time in the area.
According to the National Interagency Fire Agency’s website at http://raws.fam. nwcg.gov, “There are nearly 2,200 interagency Remote Automatic Weather Stations (RAWS) strategically located throughout the United States. These stations monitor the weather and provide weather data that assists land management agencies with a variety of projects such as monitoring air quality, rating fire danger and providing information for research applications … ”
The weather units collect, store and forward data to a computer system at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The data then is forwarded via satellite to other computer systems.
The site says, “Fire managers use this data to predict fire behavior and monitor fuels; resource managers use the data to monitor environmental conditions.”