Letter: Residents justifiably concerned about catastrophic fires
To the citizens of Paso Robles,
–I am responding to your numerous emails that I received throughout the day regarding the recent events surrounding the fire last Monday in the Salinas River channel that burned down several homes and threatened countless others.
The residents of Paso Robles and city officials are justifiably concerned about the prospect of a catastrophic fire ravaging their community. Protecting public health and safety is a priority for the Central Coast Water Board and we have been and continue to be committed to working with the city to address the significant fire problem along the Salinas River channel running through the city. In fact, we’ve been coordinating with the city to help them get a long-term plan in place since the fires last July that would allow the city to conduct ongoing vegetation removal for the purposes of fire mitigation along the Salinas River channel.
My staff and I are working expeditiously with city staff to implement an interim emergency action plan to thin and remove vegetation in the coming weeks and to develop and permit a long-term plan to implement ongoing vegetation management. Just this afternoon we received the city’s interim plan and intend to work with them to have it in place by the end of next week. City staff are still working on the development of the long-term plan and have indicated to me that it will be submitted to the Water Board in the next several weeks for our review and approval.
This issue is a high priority for me and my staff, and I am personally working to open and maintain clear and amicable lines of communication between our respective staff and myself and elected officials to ensure this issue is addressed as expeditiously as possible to protect the Paso Robles community and its residents.
Matthew T. Keeling
Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
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