Cambria motorists and residents will see lots of fire engines, emergency vehicles and about a hundred firefighters swarming in specific areas of town from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 5.
The Wildland Urban Interface Preparedness Exercise (WUI) crews won’t be here to battle a raging wildfire, but to train and rehearse for a time when one hits this or other areas of the Central Coast. Crews are expected to arrive from all over San Luis Obispo County and from some areas of Santa Barbara County, according to officials planning the daylong training session.
Also, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Cambria Fire Safe Focus Group will host a Fire Safe Fair of Cinco de Mayo, open to the public, at the Santa Rosa Catholic Church parking lot, 1174 Main St.
The fair is to include informational booths, demonstrations, a fire demonstration and free fire-extinguisher recharging and special guest speaker John Lindsey, PG&E meteorologist, media specialist and columnist for The Cambrian and Tribune.
Timing of the related events is providential: Fire season is looming, and it could be a bad one.
While most officials are saying that the 2015-16 El Niño weather event was a bust, in terms of rainfall combating the long-term drought in San Luis Obispo County, you can’t tell that by looking at the area’s densely packed weeds and towering grasses, as they proliferate and dry in recent stiff winds. The many fallen trees in Cambria’s heavily drought-impacted forest add to the risk of fire.
With those and other fire hazards in mind, the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors will start the clock Thursday, April 28, on the town’s annual Fire Hazard/Fuel Reduction program that requires property owners to clear flammables from 1,899 specific parcels of undeveloped land.
That meeting starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.
This year’s deadline for completing that work will be July 22.
Those officials say the annual drill — officially dubbed a Wildland-Urban Interface Preparedness Exercise — will focus on specific areas where neighborhoods and open spaces meet, such as upper Lodge Hill and Strawberry Canyon, Lodge Hill parallel to Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and Pineknolls.
Residents most apt to be affected are those who live along: Burton, Pineridge and Hillcrest drives; Warren Road; Victoria, Manor and Greystone ways; Iva Court; and Tipton, Trenton, Northhampton and Suffolk streets.
In addition to activities throughout the targeted areas, drill participants also will be converging along Highway 46 near the Caltrans maintenance yard, and using the Veterans Memorial Building and Rodeo Grounds areas.
For details, call Cambria Fire at 927-6240.
According to one of the organizers of the Fire Safe Fair, Susan McDonald, guest speaker John Lindsey will talk with people about weather and fire.
She said fair participants are to include Cambria Fire Department, Cal Fire, Cambria Community Healthcare District, Fire Pump and Hose fire-retardant products, Cambria Forest Committee, Cambria Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, Red Cross, Sheriff’s Mounted Search and Rescue volunteers, Pacific Wildlife Rescue, Cal Poly Bio-Char and Forest Assessment projects, Pacific Lumber of San Luis Obispo (salvaged Cambria pine products), a drawing for emergency supplies and smoke detectors from Cambria Hardware, and Mid-Coast Fire Protection of Atascadero (fire demo and recharging fire extinguishers).
Mojo’s is providing coffee for fair participants and attendees and for the drill participants.