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Wildfire danger is, of course, increasing. Without going into the reasons for this danger, and thereby avoiding a political discussion, I would like to offer my personal layman's suggestions as to what could be done.

The county needs now to plan on a countywide basis to defend against a repeat of 2017 fires. Vulnerable areas need to be identified throughout the whole of Napa County and a plan needs to be devised to combat and limit the fires' spread.

The county could actually create a department with an appointed county “wildfire marshal” whose purpose would be to identify dangerous and vulnerable areas and prepare plans to fight fires there. In this way, we would have an identifiable person charged with the job of identifying problem areas, preparing plans to fight blazes there and coordinating agencies to fight the blazes.

The Pacific Union College in Angwin is now preparing a 3-mile "fuel break" to defend the college from fire. Why can't we do the same throughout the vulnerable county areas?

We now know, down power lines are a major cause of these wildfires. A fire marshal can be charged with monitoring PG&E to identify vulnerable areas where power lines infringe on vegetation and need pruning. PG&E can certainly use another watchdog agency insuring they do what they are supposed to be doing.

The interface between residential housing and wildlands is another source of wildfire problems. Another function for a wildfire marshal could be to educate and assist those who live in the country to prepare and care for their property in such a way as to lessen fire danger.

My personal experience with the fires last year clearly indicated to me number of things;

1) Firefighting resources were overwhelmed or inadequate;

2) Communications between the public and the authorities were poor (whether to evacuate and when, the progress of the fire,etc.).

If firefighting resources are inadequate, can the public help? There were several situations in Napa last year where private citizens, who were so frightened that they took matters into their own hands. Using their own heavy equipment they cut fire trails to stop the progress of the fire, and were successful.

Is it possible citizen volunteer auxiliary fire groups be set up? A fire marshal could coordinate this process.

Otto Pisani


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