The more than four dozen folks who attended the Monday, June 5, Town Hall were updated on several topics with ample time for questions.
Kuyler Crocker, District 1 supervisor, opened the program by announcing that the County of Tulare is finalizing plans to erect a 125-foot communications tower in Three Rivers. The purpose of the tower is to upgrade emergency-services communications — sheriff, fire, ambulance — with dispatchers in the Valley.
Charlie Norman, chief of the Tulare County Fire Department, reported that the county’s Office of Emergency Services is developing an evacuation plan for use during a fire, flood, or any disaster that might occur in Three Rivers. These contingency plans include notifications as long as there is phone service, emergency centers depending on where the incident occurs, and instructions for residents if and when they should leave the area.
(Update: Two days later, during the Dinely Fire, residents who are signed up for TCAlert notifications received text messages, phone calls, or emails that a fire was burning above Three Rivers and residents should be prepared to evacuate.)
Chief Norman said that a group of South Fork residents is currently developing a South Fork Evacuation Plan under the umbrella of the County’s Community Fire Plan for Three Rivers. Norman said South Fork residents are more isolated so they formed their own emergency-preparedness group.
John Uhlir, a resident of South Fork, asked if there was an evacuation plan for the nearby national parks. Ned Kelleher, chief ranger of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, answered by saying that the local parks are currently rewriting the emergency plans with plans that they will be finalized by year’s end.
Deputy Randy Gunderman, Ag Crimes investigator for Tulare County’s Sheriff’s Office, introduced the County’s new stolen-property-detection program. SmartWater CSI is a traceable forensic liquid used to mark personal, commercial, or industrial property that is colorless and odorless, but shows up under infrared light.
The chemical was first developed in the United Kingdom. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux first bought into the program for the County’s use to deter thefts of agricultural equipment.
It has proven to be cost-effective so the offer to sign up has been extended to businesses and residents who have assets to protect. TCSO will provide the first vile of the liquid at no cost, which is enough to swab 50 items.
“What’s the first thing a thief does when he steals a firearm?” Gunderman asked.
“Files off the serial number,” members of the audience replied.
“A weapon treated with SmartWater can be still traced,” Gunderman said in response.
The liquid lasts at least five years in any type of weather condition. The kit comes with a prominent sign informing would-be thieves that the property has been swabbed.
“We know it’s a deterrent,” Gunderman said. “We have signs up at the county jails, and inmates are asked to watch a SmartWater CSI video too.”
Gunderman also said when a subject is taken into custody and the chemical shows up on a person during booking, “we start asking some different questions.”
For more information about enrolling in the program, contact Deputy Gunderman, (559) 735-1853.
NPS gears up for busy season
Michael Theune, Sequoia-Kings Canyon fire information officer, said fire crews would be igniting a prescribed burn at Ash Mountain on Wednesday, June 7. The annual burn consists of about 26 acres in the foothills.
(Update: A test burn was completed by NPS fire crews on Wednesday, June 7, but once the Dinely Fire flared up, all burning near Ash Mountain was suspended and crews went to work suppressing the wildland fire.)
Theune introduced Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, who is serving as the parks’ acting public information officer through August. She announced that road construction on the Generals Highway would be beginning this summer.
“You can cut down on the wait at the entrance station by going online and purchasing a ‘Your Pass Now,’” Sintia said. “Also, avoid peak entry periods, which are about 10 a.m. till noon.”
(Update: Dan Reams, general superintendent of LB Civil Construction, the firm that was awarded the two-year road construction contract, said Thursday, June 8, that surveying on the first phase of roadwork will begin next week but actual construction will not start until early July.)
Pet safety in Three Rivers
Autumn Davidson, DVM, veterinarian at Lone Oak Veterinary Clinic in Three Rivers, spoke on how to keep pets safe from wildlife, flies, foxtails, and excessive heat.
“Attend to your pets, especially this time of year,” Davidson said. “Rattlesnake inoculations help, but dogs need snake-aversion training too.”
Davidson added the training costs about $75.
Rabies and foxtails can be just as life threatening, she continued, and also lead to huge vet bills.
The most offending critters for passing rabies to pets are raccoons and bats. Raccoons are dangerous because dogs will chase and corner them and a raccoon’s sharp claws will draw blood.
Even a pet that’s suspected of coming into contact with a rabid animal should have shot treatments and quarantine. Dr. Davidson advised not to leave pet food or any food outdoors because it will certainly attract wildlife.
Foxtails are impossible to avoid this time of year and may be the worst pet nemesis of all.
“We’ve found foxtails that have worked their way into the hearts and brains of dogs,” Autumn said. “They do not break down during digestion, and the surgery is expensive.”
Autumn, who resides in Three Rivers, concluded by saying most importantly all pets need to have access at all times to water, as well as the cool indoors or, at least, shade. Excessive panting in a dog can be a sure sign of the onset of heat stroke.
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The next town meeting, sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation, will be held Monday, August 7. On the agenda will be Three Rivers vacation rentals.