Dozers ordered to Volcan Mountain
By Miriam Raftery
“Something will have gone out of us as people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.” – Wallace Stegner
May 24, 2013 (Julian) Updated May 29, 2013 – The quote above is inscribed on the Volcan Mountain Foundation webpage, a site devoted to protecting the wilderness preserve. But today, as a raging wildfire that started as a controlled burn encroached, bulldozers were ordered to cut a firebreak on the crest of Volcan Mountain, ECM has learned.
Meanwhile an ECM investigation has raised growing questions over whether this fire could have been prevented. Those questions include:
- Why did Cal-Fire order a controlled burn in hot weather just hours after a high wind advisory had expired?
- Why did the National Weather Service issue a spot fire weather report to Cal-Fire advising lower wind speeds when it has no wind monitor in the valley where the fire occurred?
- Why was Volcan Mountain Foundatiion advised conditions were too dangerous for it to conduct pile burning, yet Cal-Fire conducted its own controlled burn?
- Why did fire officials underestimate the potential size of this fire at 500 acres? (It has burned over 1,800 acres and is 60% contained.)
- Should Cal-Fire’s plan to sharply increase the number of acres it clears statewide be axed given the consequences of this out-of-control burn?