Agencies back fire plan

Nov 11, 2008
Agencies back fire plan

Fire (from page 1)

pass legislation which would place limits of liability on ranchers for when we do burn our own range,” ex plained Frost.

Frost noted that his group has worked closely with their county fire depart ment and has their backing, but that neither Ventura County nor the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) can perform prescribed burns without NEPA and CEQA analysis. Ranchers can perform the burns on their own property without any environmental analy sis, but the risk of the fire escaping to neighboring pri vate or public acreage is too great, said Frost.

“If the county or CAL FIRE wants to do the pre scribed burns, they have to go through a long, drawn out process to get all the necessary NEPA and CEQA reports done,” he said. “But a private landowner can do these burns quickly and easily. What we want, how ever, is a way to limit our liability so that nobody gets thrown in jail if a fire gets away.” VCCA was warned when they took up the initiative that lobbying state legisla tors would get them no where, but he said their mission has been well re ceived by other groups and is gaining traction.

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service, our local and state fire agencies ... They’re all behind us on this because nobody wants to see fires getting out of control like what we’ve seen in other places in recent years,” notes Frost. “We’re also beginning to get some help from the Farm Bureau and the California Cattle men’s Association. Eventu ally, we’d like to see the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association get involved as well. There are a few other states that have these limits on liability, but this isn’t a problem that is just limited to Ventura County.” — Tait Berlier, WLJ