CALFire Accused of Not Respecting the Privacy of Rural Landowners
Calfire re-ignited smoldering issues of privacy this last week when a Captain began attempting to do fire inspections on residents in outlying areas west of Garberville. Code enforcement problems recently caused outraged country folk to descend on County Supervisors, and now, Calfire may have fanned cooling privacy concerns into flames.
A local volunteer fireman who wished to remain anonymous explained that locals are “Freaking out.” According to the volunteer, the trust that has carefully been built between fire companies and locals may have been irrevocably damaged.
Apparently, a Calfire (formerly known as CDF) captain began doing inspections out private rural driveways. People reported that she would sometimes climb over locked gates and begin walking through curtilage without even knocking to announce she was there. Then she would leave a list of violations (i.e. brush too close to residence) under the windshield of the homeowner’s car and depart.
Yesterday, she attempted to repeat the action in Crooked Prairie area. Local residents parked a vehicle across the road and informed her that this was private property which she did not have access to. She apparently claimed that she did have access and, according to the volunteer, threatened “We’ll be back soon with law enforcement.”
As a result, local volunteer fire departments have been taking a lot of heat. With some local residents apparently blaming them for “getting into bed” with Calfire and “giving them informal permission to do this.” Some Volunteer Fire Chiefs have met with Calfire in an attempt to explain locals concerns about privacy. “It’s a matter of respect,” says the anonymous volunteer. “[Calfire] has lost communication with the people [its] trying to serve….You can earn respect or you can demand it….If you demand it without earning it then [you] don’t have any respect at all.”
As of this posting I have yet to hear back from a Calfire spokesperson though apparently they are planning to put out a press release soon.
photo of a portion of a quilt designed and put together by Nancy Branch. Taken at display of Salmon Creek Quilts.