Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018
December 5, 2018
Wind-driven fire danger in the Carson Valley
In 2017 thousands of homes were destroyed in Sonoma County, California by the wind-driven Tubbs Fire. In Santa Rosa, two neighborhoods lost over 3,000 homes. Locally we experience the same dangerous Zephyr winds that fanned these California fires, high speed air movement that creates lethal fire conditions.
The Board of County Commissioners is in the process of approving a fire-vulnerable community here in Douglas County. Among the several densely packed Planned Unit Developments being approved are Gardner Project on Mountain Meadow off Jacks Valley road, and across the street Mountain Meadow Estates, which is in the final stage of approval.
The Mountain Meadow Estates project would add 75 densely packed homes to the already approved 54 homes for a total of 129 homes on just 28 acres. With homes in most cases just 10 feet apart, fire is practically guaranteed to spread rapidly, no matter what construction material is used. Both projects will feature ultra-narrow streets that will impede orderly evacuation and restrict access to emergency equipment.
This area has been hit by major fires, most recently in 2017 and again in 2018. The latter fire burned over 250 acres in Canyon Creek and moved so fast the firefighters could not use the hydrants. Fortunately, the houses in Clear Creek were widely separated and it was daylight, so air assets could assist in preventing property loss. Had this taken place at night it could have been catastrophic.
The Mountain Meadow Estates project is located just yards from the wildlands area between Eagle Ridge and Canyon Creek. This project will add potential fuel that could jeopardize the homes down the hill in Summit Ridge and Montana. The Douglas County commissioners should reject this project for the safety of its potential buyers and other residents of the neighborhood.
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This project will be up for final consideration before the Douglas County commissioners today.