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Klamath Dam destruction group KRRC deceives citizens concerning fire protection

FOLLOWED BY KRRC Commentary in the Herald and News touting fire protection after dam removal

OPINION by Rex Cozzalio from Hornbrook on the Klamath River, posted to KBC 7/23/22

In the most recent media rhetoric from Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), paid for by you, this time regarding ‘fire protection mitigation’, they again fabricate fantasy to sell you an agenda of regional destruction.  Why not?  Having already spent over $100 MILLION of your dollars to orchestrate their singular intent of Project destruction, under the FERC accepted ‘Agreement’, the special interest ‘Signatories’ all personally benefit and are held unaccountable for any damages regardless of outcome. 

That is why the KRRC, ‘your good neighbor’ based in San Francisco, has no problem promoting deception or effectively suppressing the extensive recent empirical studies refuting claimed destruction ‘benefits’ and predict compounding resultant regional devastation.   Drastically underfunded with no ‘assurances’ outside of confiscating further ratepayer/taxpayer funds, in violation of ‘Agreement’ promises, that is why KRRC is creating, with FERC consent, ‘Definite Plan’ fallbacks.  One is to financially break in court, again using your money, anyone daring to seek compensation for losses.  The other creates their path for future self-determined ‘value-engineered’ REDUCTIONS to the FERC ‘approved’ Definite Plan when they run out of your money, thereby effectively ‘approving’ NO ‘Plan’ or public protections whatsoever.

With their ‘mitigated fire protection’ press release pablum, Signatory ‘paper trail’ deception continues.  The only deep water lakes on the Klamath, by sheer fire barrier size and volume, have irrefutably protected and very likely saved regional Copco, Iron Gate, and ‘monument’ residents 4 times in the past 5 years alone.  Just ASK THE RESIDENTS and volunteer FIRE DEPARTMENT KRRC ignores. Unmaintained ‘dry hydrants’, undetermined possible single equipment ‘dip holes’ or several ‘5,000 gallon portable tanks’ are ludicrous KRRC equivalent ‘replacements’ for public safety  It’s ok, in their prior ‘management plan’, KRRC also implied a ‘network’ of multiple ‘automated cameras’ sensitive to 12.4 miles to ‘reduce response times’.  However, in an ‘amendment’ submitted AFTER they thought the Public Comment period had ended, they now cite ONE camera at Paradise Craggy OVER 20 MILES away and blocked by Black Mountain from even seeing part of the primary affected area.  Citing ‘possibly reduced response times’ of 5 to 10 minutes in the ‘critical 30 minute window’ as ‘likely’ to make a ‘significant’ difference in reducing fire progression, they forget to mention that the nearest Cal-Fire station is well over an HOUR from MUCH of the affected area.  No problem… whether through complete ignorance or intentional lie, in their ‘study’, performed by a non-qualified Klamath destruction ‘science’ contractor and ‘approved’ by the California Signatory Governor directed Cal-Fire Sacramento office, they authoritatively state the Klamath River itself has provided as effective a fire barrier as the two 1000 acre lakes, when the deadly 2018 Klamathon Fire devastation BEGAN by EASILY jumping the Klamath River at Hornbrook and subsequently burning our property before being held at Iron Gate Lake.

They don’t care about environmental or economic consequence, only their unaccountable self-benefitting agenda of regional rewilding.  If the now proven environmental and economic benefits of the Project are irreversibly destroyed with no accountability, exponentially escalating devastation and regulatory oppression are assured to every part of our most affected region officially voting a super majority AGAINST Project destruction.  Let FERC know your opposition.

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Op-ed: Klamath Basin firefighting resources will remain strong after dam removal

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) is best known for its main task: creating a free-flowing Klamath River by removing four hydroelectric dams under the oversight of state and federal regulators. Part of KRRC’s work is to limit impacts on the communities that rely on the many benefits the river provides, including water for firefighting. Our commitment – and a requirement of this project – is to ensure that dam removal will not cause a net reduction in regional firefighting resources. Both during and after demolition of the dams, KRRC is required to make sure the fire ignition risk that currently exists will not increase compared to the level of risk facing today’s Klamath Basin.

Everyone recognizes the Klamath Basin is wildfire country. We don’t take the risk of wildfire lightly. When fires start, particularly when conditions are extreme, catching them early makes all the difference in the world. It is exponentially easier to snuff out a small fire rather than a raging inferno.

That’s why KRRC’s Fire Management Plan (Fire Plan) includes installing a Monitored Detection System: state-of-the-art camera technology that will dramatically improve early fire detection capabilities in the Klamath Basin. Using high-definition imagery and video transmitted from cameras strategically placed at fire lookouts, this brand-new asset will be far more effective at catching fires early than human lookouts or reports from residents who see smoke in the air. Early detection has the potential to save minutes to hours of time from ignition to the arrival of initial firefighting resources compared to detections from 911 calls.

KRRC and the regulators who oversee our work also understand that detection is not enough. Firefighters need access to water. So KRRC’s Fire Plan lays out new firefighting assets for the Klamath Basin to help offset the loss of reservoirs that have been used in past years for firefighting purposes. Self-supporting water tanks will be added at strategic locations to supplement aerial and ground-based water supplies. These new tanks will hold up to 5,000 gallons of water and could be stored, erected, and filled rapidly for initial attack activities.

KRRC will also install “dry hydrants,” which are pipes permanently installed into pools in the Klamath River that will have water even in low flow conditions. Dry hydrants provide a simple and reliable water supply for ground-based firefighting crews to quickly fill fire engines and water tenders.

KRRC will also map and prepare new aerial river access points (ARAPs) as part of its fire planning work. ARAPs will be identified in parts of the river that are now within the reservoirs formed by the dams that are slated for removal; exact locations will be determined once the dams are removed and the river is reestablished. KRRC will identify ARAPs that are compatible with Type 1 helicopters with snorkels, meaning water resources for aerial firefighting will remain strong even after the dams are gone. The river itself will provide multiple opportunities for tanking up firefighting helicopters. And, of course, Lake Euwana and Upper Klamath Lake will remain as resources for firefighters.

KRRC’s Fire Plan was developed in close collaboration with CAL FIRE and the Oregon Department of Forestry, and both agencies have endorsed the plan. KRRC is committed to being a good neighbor to Basin communities, and our Fire Plan reflects that commitment.






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