A Quarry Park project aimed at reducing the risk of Coastside wildfires by treating vegetation and restoring fuel breaks will begin in mid-August. In response to catastrophic wildfires across the state in recent years, CalFire identified 35 priority projects, including this 100-acre undertaking in El Granada.
In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency, enabling the secretary for the state Environmental Protection Agency to suspend certain environmental regulations in order to complete priority projects. CalFire requested suspension of the California Environmental Quality Act for the Quarry Park project.
Officials identified Quarry Park as an important site because its 500-acre stand of Eucalyptus trees, near a neighborhood in El Granada, is particularly susceptible to spreading wildfires, according to San Mateo County Parks communications specialist Carla Schoof.
“The broad-leaf evergreen canopy and shallow root system makes eucalyptus prone to falling during winter storms,” Schoof wrote in an email. “At the same time, the tree’s highly flammable bark resin increases the intensity and spread of wildfires.”
Crews will clear out new growth to ensure fires do not spread as quickly and re-establish entry and exit points for emergency responders. Schoof said crews will remove trees under eight inches in diameter that are near existing roads. Dead or dying trees, which act as fuel in the event of a fire and make up approximately 25 percent of the trees in the park according to a state report, will also be removed.
Schoof estimated that the project will last 90 work days, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, though she added the duration could change once work begins and crews have a better idea of how quickly they can treat the designated area. Work was scheduled to begin July 15, but CalFire is still finalizing contracts for the project.
Schoof encouraged residents interested in the project to visit the county parks website and sign up for an email notification system for updates.