SOBERANES FIRE 2016
The Soberanes Fire never reached Carmel Views, but it came close enough to be seen from here. This picture was taken from Carmel Views at about 9:00 pm on Saturday, July 23, 2016. The proximity and scale of this fire show why we need to continue working on fire abatement.
Here are some useful websites with information about fires in California.
Cal Fire Incidents: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
This website describes fires managed by Cal Fire.
InciWeb Fire Incidents: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
This website describes fires managed by federal agencies.
Big Sur Kate: https://bigsurkate.blog/
Some of the most detailed information about nearby fires comes from Kate Woods Novoa, a blogger in Big Sur.
Monterey County Office of Emergency Services
This website has information about fires and other emergencies in Monterey County.
Here is some evacuation guidance compiled from a variety of sources.
CVCA Evacuation Guidance 2020-08-20
Carmel Views is now a Firewise community!! To see our official certificate of Firewise recognition click here.
This recognition by the National Firewise USA® Program is the result of our year-long process of assessing community risks and committing to a course of action to reduce those risks through improved homeowner understanding and efforts. Firewise recognition identifies Carmel Views as a community that is working hard to reduce wildfire risks. It also provides access to discounted homeowner’s insurance rates from certain companies and sends a signal to firefighters that our community will be more defensible during wildfire events.
The Carmel Views Firewise Action Plan explains the activities we plan to implement over the next three years to achieve our goals for improving understanding and spurring homeowner actions and collaboration. Things are off to an excellent start. In late November 2021, our Firewise Program sponsored an in-person demonstration event where more than 30 residents heard insights and fire prevention tips from local fire experts (summarized here). We then learned about “firesafe” landscaping at the CVCA Annual Meeting from local horticultural expert Alan Wheat (soon to be summarized here).
Our “good standing” status in the Firewise Program will depend on making meaningful progress implementing the action plan and reporting on this progress annually. Everyone in Carmel Views can help by participating in community Firewise events, by taking action to harden their homes and improve defensible space on their properties, and by keeping track of their annual investments of time and money to reduce wildfire risks.
Each October, Carmel Views homeowners will be asked to report their total household investment of time and money. Here is a simple template homeowners can use to track this information. (Note that the total investment for our community will be reported to Firewise. No individual homeowner information will be shared or reported in this process.)
Carmel Views homeowners who have questions about Firewise can visit the National Program website here or they can contact the current Carmel Views Firewise Lead, Liz Chornesky, at CarmelViewsFirewise@gmail.com.
HARDEN YOUR HOME
Here is a list of suggestions for making your home more resistant to wildfires.
Harden Your Home
For more information, see the following guide to retrofitting your home. It was written for homes near Lake Tahoe, but it has a lot of good advice for homes in Carmel Views.
Wildfire Home Retrofit Guide
Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. Here are the requirements for defensible space in California.
For some stunning videos showing how burning embers can ignite your home, and what you can do about it, see the following webinar from the Marin Fire Safe Council.
Zone Zero: Ground Zero when Protecting Your Home from Wildfire
GENISTA – UP BY THE ROOTS
One of our Carmel Views neighbors, Larry Arthur, did some research on the best way to get rid of genista. This is what he learned.
Up by the Roots
Another Carmel Views neighbor, Maureen McEachen, made a video about genista. It shows how to distinguish genista from other plants and what genista roots look like when pulled from the ground.
Sometimes the only practical way to control genista is with a herbicide like Roundup. Another Carmel Views neighbor, Alexis Speidel, compiled some guidelines for using it safely.
Roundup Best Practices
For more information about controlling genista and similar plants, see this report from the University of California.
The Association has some tools that can pull genista and its roots out of the ground. Removing the roots makes it less likely that the genista will grow back. If you live in Carmel Views and have genista on your property, you are welcome to borrow one of these tools. Please contact the Board to do so.
The tool is called a PullerBear. Click here for a short video showing how to use it.
FIRE ABATEMENT IN THE COMMON AREAS
There are about 205 acres of land in Carmel Views. This includes approximately 109 acres that are in 173 privately-owned parcels, 2 acres that are owned by utility companies, and 20 acres that are covered by roads.
The remaining 74 acres are owned by the Association, not by individual homeowners. Most of this land consists of canyons and hillsides. They are protected by scenic easements. The easements do not allow any type of structure to be placed or erected in the common areas. They also prohibit planting any vegetation there.
Most of the Association’s fire abatement projects are in the common areas. They are designed to reduce the fuels there and build defensible fuel breaks between the common areas and our homes.
This map shows the main common areas in Carmel Views. Click here for a larger version of the map.
SUMMARIES OF FIRE ABATEMENT PROJECTS
Here are summaries of fire abatement projects in recent years.
FIRE DEFENSE PLAN
The Cypress Fire Protection District published a plan for reducing fuels and the threat of wildfires. Their district includes Carmel Views. The plan lists the fire roads that Cypress Fire intends to use to bring fire engines into Carmel Views and evacuate people living here if a fire blocks access to Carmel Valley Road. Since some fire roads are not currently usable, Cypress Fire has also developed backup plans for emergency routes across private property. Here is the plan.
Cypress Fire Defense Plan 2018-03
We have a problem. Each week many cigarettes are discarded along the side of roads in Carmel Views. Are these from walkers, workers you’ve hired, or passing cars? No matter the source, they are a danger (some tossed while still lit), an eyesore, and a pollutant that eventually will be be carried by storm drains to Carmel Bay and the Marine Conservation Area. Cigarette filters can take up to ten years to break down, and they contain chemicals that are lethal to marine flora and fauna. Please help by reminding smokers you know (or see) to dispose of their cigarettes properly. Extra kudos for picking up after offenders.
FIRE SAFETY INSPECTIONS
Cal Fire Inspectors have visited our properties and there is work to be done. If your property did not “pass” inspection, please follow the suggestions in the Inspection Notice to correct the problem. Maintaining safe clearance and reducing fuel load (brush, low limbs, dead trees) on your property will protect you … and help fire fighters come to your aid. It is also required by law. Cal Fire will report homeowners who repeatedly fail inspection to the District Attorney’s office, and those homeowners could face fines or court action.