VII. HAZARDS AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS — Would the project:
g) Impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?
h) Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving wildland fires, including where wildlands are adjacent to urbanized areas or where residences are intermixed with wildlands?
The Mal Paso Creek area, the Carmel Highlands and the Big Sur Coast generally are all designated as “Very High Risk” and also as a “Very High Wildfire Severity Zone” for wildfires by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE).
Even with reasonable restrictions applied to any new ordinance(s), the fragile and hazardous nature of the coastal and wildland areas of our communities are susceptible to severe damage of even a single adverse event such as: . . . wildfires (there have been many illegal beach bonfires observed and reported at our local beaches and coves started by STR tenants) . .
The Mal Paso Creek area, the Carmel Highlands and the Big Sur Coast generally are all designated as “Very High Risk” and also as a “Very High Wildfire Severity Zone” for wildfires by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE). As we have seen very recently and from past fires in the region, these wildfires produce tremendous damage to the environment and cause tragic loses to lives and property. These environmental impacts last for years following an event – affecting ecosystems, watersheds, infrastructure, property and lives. Out-of-the-area visitors are generally unaware of these risks and, unfortunately, often behave accordingly. The recent Soberanes fire is a prime example of this. The cause of which has been determined to be from an illegal campfire in a closed and unsupervised section of Garrapata State Park – immediately adjacent to our community. Just one week prior to the Soberanes Fire, STR tenants started a large illegal bonfire on Malpaso Creek Beach. A resident notified our Fire Dept. who responded to put it out. Had this fire gotten out of control or left abandoned, this could have been both a human and environmental tragedy – and this has not been the only incident.
Conflict with Monterey County Coastal Implementation Plan (Chapter 20.146.80)
Development shall only be permitted on areas of high to extreme (very high) fire hazards if: …the development will not increase the threat of fire, due to the adequacy of the fire protection measures required by the Fire District and other measures required by the Planning Department.[i]