Wildfire

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.

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. 

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.

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.”

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.

There could be an app for detecting wildfires

Apr 26, 2019
Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Predicting when a heat wave or wildfire hits in California could be as easy as looking to an app.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

A group of architecture students from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo met with Governor Gavin Newsom's office Thursday afternoon. The students have been working to reimagine Paradise, California, with plans to rebuild the town mostly destroyed by November’s Camp Fire. They're presenting an update of their work to the Paradise community Friday.

CALmatters

Russians hack Ukraine’s electricity network, turning lights off and on at will, rendering the country’s best tech hands helpless to intervene. North Korea takes over the controls of a South Korean nuclear power plant. Snipers with high-velocity rifles unleash a fusillade on a transmission station near San Jose, inflicting $15 million in damage.

It’s not the plot of the latest spy novel. Rather, it’s small sampling of actual attacks, the kind of sabotage against vulnerable energy systems that can cut off power with the click of a mouse and bring officials to their knees.

California wildfires: How you can help

Nov 14, 2018
NBC News

In response to the deadly fires that have burned through hundreds of thousands of acres and displaced thousands across California, organizations around the state are providing relief to the victims of these fires. Many are requesting monetary donations rather than items. Here are some of the ways you can help:

Daniel Schwen

California will be changing the way it manages forests and wild lands near urban areas, after a Central Coast lawmaker’s bills relating to wildfire management and response were signed into law.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Wildfires continue to burn across California. In the northern part of the state, a fire that’s burned tens of thousands of acres and forced many to evacuate has now jumped into Oregon. Over the weekend a rash of high temperatures and dry winds sparked fires across the Central Coast and in southern California. A fast-moving fire in the city of Goleta tore through 100 acres and destroyed 13 homes in a matter of hours.

Anita Ritenour/Flickr

With a heat wave on the horizon, public safety officials along the Central Coast are reminding residents and visitors celebrating Independence Day that all fireworks are completely illegal to use or even possess. Except where they are legal.

Wildfire prompts evacuations on Cal Poly campus

Sep 27, 2017
Andy Zink

An intense vegetation fire ignited Tuesday afternoon on the hills above the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo. Two residence halls - Sierra Madre and Yosemite - were evacuated, and officials directed students to the campus's Mott Gym. Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong said all students are safe.

Whittier Fire Update: 87 percent containment

Jul 23, 2017
Whittier Fire Incident Command

The wildfire that ignited July 8 near Lake Cachuma has burned 29 square miles as of Sunday. Fire officials report the Whittier Fire is now 87 percent contained, but it may be the end of the month before the forest blaze is totally extinguished.

Brush fire ignites on Nipomo Mesa

Jul 23, 2017
Courtesy of CalFire SLO

A vegetation fire broke out Thursday afternoon on the Nipomo Mesa in San Luis Obispo County. 

Vegetation fire ignites on Foxen Canyon Road

Jul 18, 2017
David Zaniboni/Santa Barbara County Fire

UPDATE 7/18/17 11 A.M.: As of Tuesday morning, 40 percent of the wildfire is contained, as firefighters held back the flames from burning more than 40 acres. Foxen Canyon Road is open.

UPDATE 7/17/17 6 P.M.: Forward motion on the fire stopped at 35 acres.