5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

This year seems to be going just as fast as the others and here we find ourselves heading into the fall months.  Thankfully, our county has escaped the devastating fires that have been ravaging California.  2018 has brought new records with the Mendocino Complex Fire becoming the largest recorded fire in California’s history at over 459,000 acres.  Here at home, we are fortunate to have a very active Fire Safe Council.  The San Luis Obispo County Community Fire Safe Council (SLOFSC) which started in 1999 consists of a 27-member volunteer board.  These volunteers represent organizations and fire professionals from throughout the County who meet bi-monthly to focus on preventative measures that will keep our County safe from devasting fires.  Dan Turner, former San Luis Obispo County Fire Chief, is the current Business Manager of the SLOFSC, and I have the honor of serving as the current Chairman.  For several years, our SLOFSC has been awarded grant money for fire prevention projects.  This year, the SLOFSC received a grant total of $3.9 million for projects throughout the County.  These funds will be spent in the wildland areas to improve forest health and reduce fire risk.  In the Cambria Area, the Nacimiento Lake Area, the Park Hill – Pozo Area, the coastal areas including Los Osos, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Avila Beach.  There is currently funding being used to reduce fuel loads in the South County areas.  The SLOFSC is dedicated to reducing fire risk in our county and believe that education and preventative measures can go a long way in accomplishing those goals.

This past month has brought changes in the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA).   The IWMA is a Countywide agency comprised of the County and all the cities whose mission is to plan and implement regional solid waste and hazardous waste programs. The IWMA recently appointed Mike Giancola, an Atascadero resident, as the Interim Manager.  Historically, the IWMA has provided recycling and many other waste management programs that help reduce waste going into our County landfills.  Mike Giancola brings a wealth of experience to the agency and I look forward to working with him.

Lastly, the County Office of Emergency Services works tirelessly to ensure the safety of all County citizens during emergencies or disasters.  A comprehensive update was given at the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 11th and can be viewed here: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/Proposal.html?select=9120

The discussion focused on the need for community during emergencies.  The County has worked extensively on planning and being prepared but it is essential to be able to clearly communicate with citizens.  Methods of communication include use of cell phones, radio and television.  People in our rural areas may want to look into a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio which can be purchased on-line.  Not only do they provide weather conditions, during emergency systems, our County can collaborate with NOAA to communicate on NOAA battery operated radios.   I would also encourage you to register for reverse 911 https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Office-of-Emergency-Services/Services/Reverse-9-1-1.aspx

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Colony Days festivities.  It’s an honor to serve the 5th District.