On April 27, 2010 I met with CALFIRE Division Chief Richard Sampson and his Fire Captain to discuss the damage to Deer Creek Rd. caused by their bulldozer on April 17, 2010.

First of all they apologized for the incident.  They explained that one of their trucks got stuck on Ring Valley Road while trying to respond to an arson fire in our area.  They needed to retrieve the truck because it left one of their stations short of the proper complement of firefighting equipment.  Their normal retrieval equipment was responding to another incident and so the only one available for the task was the larger D6 bulldozer which couldn’t be trucked in because of the length of their trailer.

 When I inquired about how the roadway damage would be repaired by them, Rich Sampson replied that because of budget cuts by the County and the State he is restricted from spending funds to purchase repair materials other than those specifically required for firefighting efforts.

He explained that we had three options:

1.      Petition the State for funds to repair the damage.  This claim will be denied because the incident happened when CALFIRE operations were under Santa Cruz County funding and not under the State funding which begins May 1.

2.     Submit a claim to Santa Cruz County for funds to repair the damage.  He explained the County is running a deficit of $ 12.9 million and getting reimbursement is unlikely.  He was aware of a recent claim arising from the Swanton Rd. fire last summer and the claim was denied.

3.     He suggested that he provide ‘in kind’ road grading and drainage improvements in order to improve roadways so CALFIRE could better respond to potential fires in our area.  If this option were chosen, we would pay for the actual repairs of the damaged asphalt.

We agreed to meet on May 11, 2010 for a road tour to determine what roadways could be improved by CALFIRE.

On May 11, 2010 we met with Rich Sampson and his Fire Captain for a road tour.  Our objective was to determine what road grading and drainage control work they could perform to offset the costs of the road damage caused by their bulldozer.  Also attending from DCLI was Mike Parnello, representing North Skyview to Kings Creek Truck Trail, Tys Sniffen representing South Skyview to Two Bar Road, and Ron Chandik representing the road from Jack’s Rd. to Los Cumbres through his properties.  Additionally, I received inputs from John Miller regarding Lost Valley Rd. and from Mac Marshall regarding South Skyview.

The following actions were agreed upon:

1.     CALFIRE will re-grade and do drainage control practices on Skyview Road from the intersection of Ramble Rd. up to the gate at Kings Creek Truck Trail.  Mike (and his posse) has agreed to do brush removal and liming to create a Shaded Fuel Break along Skyview, particularly in the heavily wooded area beyond Dominic Owens’ property to the Kings Creek Truck Trail gate.  I am checking with RCD and The Natural Resources Conservation Service (Dept. of Agriculture) to see if there are funds available to help with brush disposal or chipping.  I’ll be meeting with them on Tues. May 1.


2.     We did go South on Skyview with Tys to the gate at the top of Two Bar Rd.  It was agreed that section is in good shape (thanks to Mac’s efforts while building his house).   However, it could use some rock on the section from the intersection of Ramble and the gate to the South just past Joy and Tony’s.  CALFIRE cannot pay for the rock.  CALFIRE did recommend the brush be removed from the sides of the road since it is highly flammable.


3.     We then traveled to Jack’s Rd. to determine the condition of the road from Jack’s Rd. to Los Cumbres.  CALFIRE wants to make sure that road can be used to move firefighting equipment up or down from/to Los Cumbres and that it be available as an emergency escape route for DCLI landowners should a fire cut off our route to the South along Deer Creek Rd.  Everything looked OK for as far up as we went.  CALFIRE will take a look from Los Cumbres downward.


4.     Next, we investigated the condition of Lost Valley Rd. from the top of Hartman Creek Rd. down to the Hernandez driveway (about 1/3 mile).

The very top was in fairly good shape but as we got down toward the Hernandez driveway the road was not passable.  It was agreed that this section would be re-graded with the addition of some drainage control practices.  Additionally, a large log would be placed across the road to prevent unwanted traffic coming up from the lower portions of Lost Valley Rd.  CALFIRE stated they felt this is an important route for access to a fire that may come down from the North driven by the Fall offshore winds.  This project will be conducted in August providing CALFIRE is not out fighting a fire.


5.     Next, we looked at the section of road from the first bridge, along the paintball area and ending at the second bridge.  This is the area we had Jim Walters quote us $15,800 to rip, re-grade, add 1 ˝” drain rock, water and roll.  CALFIRE agreed to rip, re-grade, water and possible roll (depending on equipment availability).  We will have to purchase any rock that we want spread on that section.  As a side note, we will install the culvert that was approved by the membership before any grading work is done.  The schedule for the culvert project will be early June and the re-grading sometime after that.


Tom Bird,

Road Manager

May 26, 2010