Rain clouds gather: public agencies celebrate but prepare for drought, fire

  • Frazier Park Public Utilities District’s Jonnie Allison prepared an emergency water conservation plan for the FPPUD board to consider. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

    Frazier Park Public Utilities District’s Jonnie Allison prepared an emergency water conservation plan for the FPPUD board to consider. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

By Patric Hedlund

Wind, moody clouds and some torrential rains dominated Wednesday, Feb. 26. A new storm is predicted to visit, with greater ferocity, on Friday and part of Saturday. There is a warning from the National Weather Service that winds along the Grapevine could gust as high as 70 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, public agencies are preparing for the flip side of thunderstorms, which is possible lightning strikes and the fire hazards that can imply.


Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich announced Tuesday that the contract for the SuperScooper tanker from Quebec has been extended through March 15. That tanker has been useful in rapidly containing fires that could have threatened the Mountain Communities several times already this year.

“Our region is still in a drought and fire danger remains high,” Antonovich said. “In addition to L.A. County Fire’s own aerial fleet, the SuperScoopers are powerful tools to protect life and property.”

Interjurisdictional agreements between Kern County, Ventura County and Los Angeles County, with U.S. Forest Service fire fighting resources, are typically called upon to work together for blazes threatening the mountain region.

FPPUD drought vigilance

The “precipitation year” used by official agencies begins in July, so we are six months into our third year of drought.

In a special meeting Thursday, Feb. 20, the board of the Frazier Park Public Utilities District adopted a three-step emergency conservation plan for its water customers. The plan is now available for public review and comment, said FPPUD Board President Rebecca Gipson.

The California Department of Public Health has been urging all water districts to adopt such a conservation plan, Operations Manager Jonnie Allison said in the meeting.

Failure to follow the conservation constraints during extreme drought conditions can result in citations and fines, according to the plan.

Snow Warning

The Los Padres Forest has issued warnings about snowfall forecast for lower elevations.

“Snow play recreation areas such as Mt. Pinos could experience high visitor traffic. The public is encouraged to drive slowly and carefully, always stay on the road and be aware of oncoming traffic when visibility is low. Park only in areas where vehicles do not block the road,” the USFS said.

Call the Mt. Pinos Ranger District to check on road conditions (661.245.3731).

Photo caption:

Board members, including Lisa Schoenberg and Jerry Garcia, took great care and several hours to review the plan, debating wording of the plan and the resolution to adopt it.

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This is part of the February 28, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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