wildfire

Credit: Rachel Showalter

Wild beavers play a critical role in the fight against climate change by creating wetlands that combat drought and wildfire.

Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management California

With temperatures rising around the Central Coast, fire experts say it’s important to be prepared for wildfires and have a plan in place in case you need to evacuate.

Atascadero Fire Department

Peak wildfire season is here, and the state's massive wildfires throughout the last few years have magnified the importance of emergency alert communications to get people to evacuate in time.

Courtesy of Cal Fire

From May through late October, it’s typically all hands on deck for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). However, wildfires can take place regardless of the calendar.

photo courtesy of KAZU

On this week's show, learn how sheep work to help prevent fires on the Central Coast. Also, after a wildfire in Santa Cruz County destroyed close to 1,500 structures, a local group experiments with fungi, which they say has the ability to remove and even heal toxic burn scars. You’ll hear about the traveling nurses who administer vaccines at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Latinos make up the majority of the population in Fresno County, but they only account for about 36% of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine; we’ll explore some of the reasons why Latino residents are hesitant. There's a new monthly series of Zoom events put on by NAACP SLO County, called "Know Your Rights", and we’ll take a closer look. Finally, Cal Poly grad and author of the award-winning novel, “Prospects of a Woman”, Wendy Voorsanger shares insights about her work chronicling exceptional women throughout California's history.

Cuyama Lamb LLC

Livestock grazing services are becoming more widely used as a fire mitigation tool. Animals clear vegetation and reduce fire risk, especially in hard-to-reach places like the slopes and hillsides of the Central Coast.

photo courtesy of the Santa Barbara Zoo

Learn about the author and editor of the book "Voices of the Grieving Heart", where forty writers share their journeys through loss, grief, transformation and healing. You’ll meet Monty the penguin, a new social media celebrity from the Santa Barbara Zoo who’s featured in a new children's book. You’ll hear from Heidi McPherson of the Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County. And finally, we'll head to Fort Hunter Liggett, where an 80th anniversary Open House is planned for later this month.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

If you go for a hike at the Pismo Preserve over the next few months, you may come across a herd of cattle grazing the rangeland area of the preserve to eat invasive weeds such as black mustard, help restore the diversity of native plant life and reduce the risk of wildfire.

City of SB CWPP

 

California's 2020 wildfire season burned more than four million acres and broke numerous records for increased size and intensity, according to a recent report from the state’s Forest Management Task Force.

Issues & Ideas: Lorilee Silvaggio, Zapotec and spiny lobster

Jan 29, 2021

On this edition of "Issues and Ideas," Central Coast congressman Jimmy Panetta talks about action taken by the USDA under the Trump Administration and how it affects local farmworkers. A group of linguists at UC Santa Cruz are on a mission to save a rarely-studied, endangered language. We’ll hear how records from Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks were moved to the University of California Merced during last September's wildfires. We have a remembrance of San Luis Obispo’s Lorilee Silvaggio, founder of the SLO Civic Ballet. Central Coast poet Toni Stern talks about her new book of poetry. Finally, Father Ian Dellinger learns about the spiny lobster fishing industry in Santa Barbara.

Angel Russell/KCBX

Strong, damaging winds have prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off electricity for parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and CalFire SLO said extra crews are on standby with an increased risk of wildfires breaking out.

Issues & Ideas: US fishing industry floundering, debris flow risk and the Channel Islands

Dec 28, 2020

On the December 21 edition of Issues & Ideas, we'll hear a report on how some GOP lawmakers in California oppose business shutdowns because they say there’s no evidence they reduce COVID-19 cases or spikes. And, you’ll hear about how the pandemic is impacting the fishing industry on the entral Coast and beyond, as KCBX speaks with a Central Coast fishing industry official and two academic researchers. Lake Tahoe has finally received a measurable amount of snow, and more is forecasted, but the pandemic has buried the tourist economy there. The rainy season is upon Monterey County and because of this summer’s major wildfires, the season brings a significant risk of debris flows. We have a report on how COVID-19 has affected one Central Valley family. We’ll also hear from a San Luis Obispo business owner about current challenges and opportunities—and the risks her family took during the pandemic to help their business stay afloat. Finally, we’ll learn about a new "un-textbook" written about the Channel Islands.

After this year's historic wildfires, California's oldest state park — Big Basin Redwoods — looks more like a logging village than an iconic hiking and camping mecca.

There's a near constant buzz of chainsaws. Rumblings from trucks and logging skidders fill the air as crews busily cut charred, fallen trees and chop down "hazard trees" rangers worry will topple on to the park's roadways.

Angel Russell

The first winter rains are expected this weekend along the Central Coast, posing a potential concern for homes along a hillside in Pismo Beach, scorched from the Avila Fire in mid-June. 

The Avila Fire burned through more than 400 acres of vegetation. Cal Fire SLO investigators determined it was human-caused and intentionally set, but no arrests have been made.

Ever since, the city of Pismo Beach has been working with homeowners and other agencies to reduce the risk of potential mudslides for the upcoming rainy season. 

Issues & Ideas: Election coverage, reparations and internment camp memories

Oct 13, 2020

Among the dozen ballot measures this election, California voters are deciding on Proposition 17 and Proposition 15: we hear more about those two measures. John Laird and Vicki Nohrden are vying for termed-out Bill Monning’s state senate seat. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber chairs the California Black Legislative Caucus, and speaks about which laws she believes can help address systemic racism. We look at the long-term impacts of wildfire on the Central Coast, and we get a look at the local aviation industry. Two elderly friends talk about the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II and how they adjusted to life afterward. And, we hear from a fourth-generation resident about the changes downtown San Luis Obispo has experienced over the years.

As peak fire season continues, the possibility of planned power shutoffs throughout the state still looms. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) says its customers will get more warning if a power outage will affect them.

Issues & Ideas: A virtual Monterey Jazz Festival, the SLO Botanical Garden and YouthWell

Sep 23, 2020

The Monterey Jazz Festival usually takes place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on the third weekend in September, but the 63rd annual festival will be virtual. You'll hear from Beau and Melissa Kramer of Kramer Events talking about the recent challenges of the event business. The University of California at Berkeley is starting a new center to study the science of psychedelics and you’ll hear from one of the center's cofounders—journalist and author Michael Pollan. YouthWell is a nonprofit based in Santa Barbara that provides free mental health workshops and resources for teens, parents, and educators. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden’s programs have adapted to the pandemic, and there are big plans for the future. And finally today, you’ll hear a story of stranded hikers trapped in the wilderness by a raging wildfire.

There have been record-setting hurricanes, floods and a pandemic. And this year in California six of the 20 largest wildfires in the state’s history have occurred, many of which are still burning.  News of mass evacuations are heard daily, often with little or no time at all to prepare. These hardships clearly illustrate the importance of emergency preparedness. If a disaster hits, will you be prepared? Would you be ready to go? Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Paul Deis, Red Cross disaster volunteer, and Dan McGauley, retired firefighter and paramedic with the city of Atascadero, as they discuss the importance of being disaster ready.

Angel Russell

Despite an ongoing pandemic and wildfires causing smoky skies, people are still visiting the Central Coast—but overall tourism is sharply down compared to years' past.

Smoky skies are hard on health and businesses

Aug 20, 2020
Angel M Russell

Smoky skies continue to blanket the Central Coast, creating unhealthy air quality in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties that is affecting health and business.

Issues & Ideas: Wildfire season, Santa Barbara history, and a SLO airport project

Jul 23, 2020

In this episode of Issues & Ideas: Wildfire season has arrived in California, and managers of a preserve in Monterey County are hoping to change the way communities approach wildfires. We’ll hear from a Santa Barbara historian to learn more about what was making news one hundred years ago. Bakersfield’s South High School has had a Confederate rebel for its mascot since 1957, and we’ll hear from Marcus Hicks, who, as a Black student, talks about what it was like to be in that environment. The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture brings new art exhibits to the community throughout the year, and we’ll learn about a current sculpture at what locals call Hendry's Beach. The San Luis Obispo Airport has an upcoming project to the airport's runway. The US Forest Service plans to prevent wildfires in the Los Padres National Forest by cutting down trees. And finally, we'll hear from a local tech business leader who believes “it’s high time we demand the right to open, tinker with, and repair everything we own.”

USFS

The US Forest Service plans to help prevent wildfires in the Los Padres National Forest by cutting down trees and chaparral across a 755-acre area of the forest. The Central Coast’s congressman and environmental groups say the project is unchecked and unnecessary.

CalFire SLO

Update 6/16/20 10 a.m. All lanes of US Highway 101 are now reopened, although the northbound Avila Beach and Spyglass offramps remain closed. All evacuation orders have been lifted. Firefighters worked through the night trying to contain the fire. The strong winds of Monday evening have died down and homes in the area are no longer under threat. CalFire San Luis Obispo says 300 firefighters and multiple aircraft from across the Central Coast are on the scene this morning, and the fire's cause is under investigation. It has burned about 400 acres with 20 percent containment.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas: Learn how the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council is helping local residents better prepare for fire.

Also, hear about REACH, which is the new iteration of the Hourglass Project, a year-old "action tank" focused on forming a viable plan to create new jobs and economic development across the Central Coast. 

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

All evacuations have been lifted in Santa Barbara County even as firefighters—and the rain—continue to work on putting out the Cave Fire, which started Monday in the Los Padres National Forest. What began as a small brush fire has now burned thousands of acres, and forced thousands of people to flee from areas of Santa Barbara and Goleta. But for many in the community, the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday were just part of the California new normal.

Evacuation order lifted as Cave Fire threat diminishes

Nov 27, 2019
Mike Eliason/SBC Fire

As of Wednesday morning, despite over an inch of rain overnight, firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in the mountains above Santa Barbara. A portion of Highway 154 remains closed, but all evacuation orders have been lifted after the Cave Fire broke out in the Los Padres National Forest, near the top of San Marco Pass Road in Santa Barbara County, on Monday afternoon. 

SLO County dodges coming power shutoffs, for now

Oct 8, 2019

As of Wednesday, all of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey counties remain off the list for current public safety power shutoffs taking place across the state.

Prevention is the key to public safety, and fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire, how to prevent fires and how to reduce wildfire risk.

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas: Do you want to make your home wildfire resistant? A landscape design expert says much of the conventional wisdom about native landscapes and fire is wrong. Greg Rubin, president and founder of California's Own Native Landscape Design, is coming to San Luis Obispo on August 1 to share techniques he has developed to create sustainable, ecologically responsible, fire-resistant landscapes. 

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Residents of town of Paradise, destroyed in last year’s Camp Fire, are preparing to make some decisions on plans to rebuild. To assist in the process, students from California Polytechnic State University—Cal Poly—in San Luis Obispo have been working on envisioning a re-design of the town, part of a design studio course for third-year architecture students. This week they traveled to Northern California to unveil their finished, contemporary proposals and ideas for a new downtown Paradise. The students were excited to show off their hard work, but some in the community weren’t ready for such a forward-thinking approach to rebuilding a town with a rustic past.

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