PASO ROBLES, CA – We are currently experiencing another year of record low rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures. California continues to experience longer wildfire seasons because of the drought. Over 4,900 fires have been recorded this year throughout the state, totaling approximately 147,000 acres burned. This follows the 2020 and 2021 fire seasons that had the highest and second highest number of acres burned in history.
The City of Paso Robles continues its efforts to reduce community risk from wildfires. In the Salinas corridor, over 850 goats were utilized to reduce hazardous fuel loading. In total, grazing operations lasted 77 days, treating over 95 acres, at a cost of approximately $62,000. Areas that were heavily wooded required hand crews to treat standing dead trees and heavy pockets of dead and downed material. 35 acres were treated by hand crews at a cost of $60,000. Grazing and hand crew work was paid for with grant funds provided by the San Luis Obispo County Community Fire Safe Council.
The Police Department Community Action Team (CAT) has continued to have a heavy presence in the riverbed with staff on the ground and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) giving a bird’s eye view. Since January 2021, the CAT team has removed nearly 300,000 pounds of trash from the riverbed and made 100s of contacts with the homeless population for outreach and enforcement purposes. CAT continues to work collaboratively with other City and County agencies and nonprofits to reduce the number of encampments in the riverbed.
Efforts by Paso Robles Fire and Police Departments to reduce the risks in the Salinas corridor are having a positive affect. Fires in the Salinas corridor have decreased by 46% YTD. Total acres burned in the Salinas corridor have declined since mitigation, enforcement, and cleanup efforts began. In 2020 thirty-five acres burned, 2021five acres, and YTD three acres.