[Marin County] Letter to the editor: Let’s hold land managers accountable for fuel load

The Marin civil grand jury seems to have done a good job assessing Marin County’s risks associated with wildfires. Several of its recommendations and conclusions, however, are way off.

First, let’s remember that the primary reason we have a wildfire problem in California is due to decades of forest mismanagement by federal, state and local government. For example, the Marin Municipal Water District, which owns 21,500 acres, clears only 30 acres per year. Careless government bureaucracies have allowed this to happen, and it is now their responsibility to fix the problem.

Therefore, a law should be enacted that gives government agencies 18 months to remove the fuel load on their lands and to implement a comprehensive forest management plan.

Let’s start by targeting the biggest offenders: the county of Marin, the MMWD and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This would be a much more effectve plan than hiring 30 new “vegetation management inspectors” (at an estimated annual cost of $3 million) to rat out homeowners who fail to comply with some draconian new landscaping regulation.

Oh, and if any agency or government entity fails to comply with their requirement to remove the fuel load from their lands, the law would state that the county supervisors and/or agency board members would be held personally liable for the associated costs of compliance.

I think you’d see fire risk fall dramatically if we held our governments accountable for their actions — or lack thereof.

May 8, 2019

Marin Independent Journal

By Chris Hunt, San Anselmo