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San Luis Obispo Co. Grand Jury: Assessing the fire risk in Cambria

Cambria Trees
Posted at 2:04 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 18:41:31-05

The San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury is continuing to address the town of Cambria to assess the risk of fire within town limits.

The Grand Jury started publishing articles and putting out reports to the towns Community Service District (CSD) and Fire Department in 2013 regarding the risk and fire danger within the town.

The Grand Jury continued to follow up over the past eight years and ultimately found that the fire dangers were not adequately being addressed.

According to Grand Jury members Jeffrey Munks and George Tracy, the CSD, Fire Department and Caltrans have been working on the issues needing to be addressed, but the problem is not being taken care of fast enough.

In the 2021 Grand Jury report, Munks pointed out three particular areas of concern:
1. There are more than 400 fire hydrants that need to be regularly tested, which is not being done
2. There are more than 3,000 acres of dead or dying trees that represent hazardous fuel. Cambria is trying to reduce that but the ones on private property have not been removed.
3. If a fire happens how will people out of town when the narrow and windy streets will also be used for first responders trying to get in. Signage and evacuation routes and reverse 911. All in the most recent continuity report.

Munks said the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is working with the CSD to address the problems above.

The biggest concern about the dead trees is that most of them are on private property so the CSD will need to contact the property owners and have them take those trees down, according to Munks.

Caltrans is also working on signage and town leaders are working to put together evacuation routes for if an emergency were to happen.

"All of the movement we see is in a positive and constructive direction so we just hope to see that continue," said Munks.

The Grand Jury will once again do a follow up on the report in June of next year.

"We always look for trying to improve the county and that is the purpose of the Grand Jury, is to work to improve a function of county government and i believe that we have done that," said Tracy.

To read a copy of the full grand jury report, click here.