For nearly three years, Paso Robles police and city leaders have been continuing efforts to remove trash from the Salinas Riverbed.
This week alone - the Paso Robles Community Action team has cleaned up more than 17,000 pounds of trash from the Salinas Riverbed.
It's an ongoing effort to reduce the fire risk in the area in a particularly dry year.
Paso Robles Fire Department Battalion Chief said, “This year we’re approaching almost 60 fires within the Salinas River.”
Community Action Team officers have been going down to the Salinas Riverbed almost daily with a cleanup crew and a social services worker to clear out the area. Just this year, they’ve made significant progress.
“We’re up to over 150,000 pounds of trash that we’ve pulled out of the Salinas Riverbed this year at a cost of about $75,000,” said Paso Robles Police Commander Stephen Lampe.
The city of Paso Robles sets aside money in the police budget for the cleanup in the Salinas River as a response to residents’ concerns about the trash in the area.
Lampe said, “They’re most concerned about the fire hazard and pollution that’s going down at the river.”
The Paso Robles Fire Departments says the trash clean up has been reducing the risk of fire hazards.
“The trash cleanup just helps clean up the river. And so, it’s just one additional thing that can be burning once a fire gets started. And it’s more hazardous than just the vegetation burning,” Enns said.
If the cleanup crew is close enough, a roll off dumpster is brought in to dump the trash.
“On a lot of occasions, the trash is so far in the river that a roll off is just not practical. So, we have trailers that are filled and they are taken to the dump,” said Lampe.
The Paso Robles Police Department will continue their cleaning efforts until the fire season is over.