Fire officials note areas of concern in San Luis Obispo County

Posted at 2:24 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 17:24:04-04

After the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day, wildfires are on the minds of many.

Los Padres National Forest firefighters told KSBY about the areas they are most concerned with this year, specifically in San Luis Obispo County.
Just 30 miles east of San Luis Obispo is an area that hasn’t burned in 30 years, which means grasses and brush are primed for ignition.
"This whole entire area right around the Rock Front, Huasna we have a really large area that hasn’t burned since the Logan Fire which was back in 1997," said Battalion Chief Chip Laugharn. 
There are three other areas of concern that previously burned but have had plenty of time for regrowth. 

  • The Logan Fire tore through 50,000 acres in an unpopulated area near Highway 166 in 1997. The concern if a fire were to start there now is sparks being carried to nearby populous areas.
  • The Las Pilitas Fire dating back to 1985 destroyed 75,000 acres from Santa Margarita to the coastal mountains behind Arroyo Grande.
  • The Highway 58 Fire burn scar is also of concern now after more than 100,000 acres were burned in 1996 before the fire died out east of Pozo.

"Right now we have an area that we haven’t seen fire in a long time and those fires were very fast moving and took up a lot of resources," said Laugharn. "So we’re there at that point again where we are worried that the fire is going to be there again."
There are also pockets of land that fire crews have protected from fire. Those areas of vegetation haven’t burned since the 1930s.
And as we enter fire season, fire crews remind you to be cautious.
"You could be in an area that could become in a fire or you could start a fire," Laugharn said. "Look at our fire restrictions, obey our regulations and be a steward of the land."

To try and detour fire, the Los Padres National Forest crews say they are always working on hazard reduction, fuel mitigation and extra patrols in remote areas.