Cal Fire

San Luis Obispo County

There will soon be a new source of water to fight wildfires on the Central Coast. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday a contract with PG&E to purchase desalinated water produced out at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Supervisor Adam Hill says the plant only uses about 40 percent of its production capacity, so some of that excess water can now be used in CAL FIRE tanker trucks.

CAL FIRE

Monday was the official start of Peak Fire Season along the Central Coast, with agencies in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties joining forces in preparation. 

The move ensures staffing at all California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) offices, including Station No. 11 in Cayucos which had been temporarily closed as part of a money saving measure.

CAL FIRE San Luis Obiso Chief Robert Lewin said the fire danger indicator signs were moved to "high" on Monday and there's potential for more severe conditions later in the week.

CAL FIRE

Local leaders are working to keep a small San Luis Obispo County fire station from closing later this week. Cal Fire Station No. 11 in Cayucos is seasonal, and scheduled to temporarily shut its doors on Friday as part of a money-saving measure.

During the winter months, the station is operated under a joint agreement funded by the local Fire Protection District (FPD). To save money, the FPD wants to close early.

Cal Fire will reopen the station in mid-April as part of the state's fire season staffing plan.

Cal Fire SLO Twitter feed

A horse that got trapped in a hole Tuesday morning east of Arroyo Grande was eventually freed with the help of Cal Fire crews, a veterinarian and a neighbor.

Cal Fire San Luis Obispo says the distress call came in around 10:30 a.m. While the hole was initially described as a sink hole, Battalion Chief  Paul Lee says he believes it was manmade. 

"In and around that hole was a lot of lumber," said Lee, adding that the horse was entangled in the two-by-fours and plywood. The animal was upset and was calmed down with the help of a veterinarian.

Twitter: CALFIRE_SLO

Central Coast Investigators are working with federal agencies to follow up on an emergency plane landing Friday morning in southern San Luis Obispo County, near Highway 166.

"A portion of that highway was closed to allow the plane to land," said sheriff's spokesperson Tony Cipolla in an email to KCBX.  "The aircraft landed in a riverbed adjacent to highway 166 and flipped upside down."

There were two occupants on board the plane at the time of the landing, a male and female. Neither needed any medical attention, according to Cipolla.

Flickr member Damian Gadal

All of the wet weather the Central Coast is receiving this December has put an official end to fire season in the Los Padres National Forest, something that failed to happen last year.

Cal Fire says the high fire season is over for the first time since spring of 2013.

Unit Forester Alan Peters says the declaration gives fire crews time to engage in some training and other activities they can't do during peak season. While Central Coast hills have received enough moisture and greening to drop the fire level, Peters says the declaration could be short-lived.

Dennis Lee, ODF

Roughly 240 members of the California National Guard arrived at Camp Roberts Monday to being four days of intensive training on line-crew firefighting.

The guard supports the state's fire suppression efforts on an annual basis but not since 2007 has the need been great enough to warrant this level of training, said Captain Kara Siepmann.

"So that's about two days of classroom and two days in the field wearing their full protective equipment that Cal Fire issues them, and then they're ready to be deployed should the fire spark large enough to need them," said Siepmann.

Twitter @EdJoyce - Capital Public Radio

Cal Fire strike teams from Monterey to Santa Barbara are on the front lines of wildfires burning in Northern California and the Sierra Nevada.

However, all of this support has the San Luis Obispo County Fire Department stretched to critical levels. San Luis Obispo Cal Fire entered a Level 2 critical resource draw down Tuesday. 

"We have a lot of firefighters going to the several Northern California fires. So we cannot send out a lot more because we're at draw down. We have to keep the home front covered," said Tina Rose, a spokesperson for SLO County Cal Fire.

Flickr member Jameel Winter

A San Luis Obispo County-wide burn ban goes into effect July 1, as Cal Fire's local unit prepares for the driest, hottest time of the year.

The agency is urging residents to do their part to be fire safe during this critical period.

The burning suspension will remain in effect until there is a significant change in weather conditions or until the end of fire season.

Twitter user @Barnett Parker via Carol Barrentez

Crews and equipment from Cal Fire stations in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Monterey Counties are helping efforts to control the Hunters Fire burning in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Mariposa County.

Each of the three Central Coast counties has sent roughly the same number of resources; five engines and 18 to 20 firefighters.

At 1300 acres and just 20 percent containment (Tuesday afternoon numbers) the Hunters Fire is the most serious active blaze burning in California.