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Sheriff Tom Allman says emergency managers have identified several actions they could take to improve the county’s ability to warn residents about fast-moving fires. The Sheriff gave a press conference this morning in which he recapped the initial responses, in minute-by-minute detail, during the first 12 hours of the fires that started at 11:34pm on October 8 in Potter Valley. Allman did not want discuss whether or not different choices should have been made as the flames quickly spread, killing nine people in the first few hours as first responders raced to evacuate homes. Allman said among the improvements he’d like to see are: reestablishing the community air raid sirens; increasing the fire- defensible space around cell towers and communications equipment with gravel buffers or even just herbicides; and refining the Wireless Emergency Alert system which is currently pushed over cell phones for broad use like Amber Alerts but Allman thinks could be made more focused for local use.

The Mendocino Broadband Alliance is reminding you that if you haven’t done so already, to please take their survey about telecommunications outages during the fires last month. They’ve gotten about 1100 responses, but only 363 from Mendocino County and they need more to get good data on what areas lost coverage. And they also want to hear from you even if you didn’t lose any services. They would especially like to get responses from folks in Boonville, Caspar, Westport, Talmage, Yorkville, Leggett, Piercy, Branscomb, Elk, Dos Rios, Gualala, Hopland, and Little River. You can find it at http://www.mendocinobroadband.org/ or on our website.

The Mendocino County Department of Agriculture is hosting a training to introduce cannabis cultivators to basic pesticide use regulations, and the requirements for using pesticides in a commercial setting. It’s Wednesday, November 15, from 10:30am to Noon at Harwood Hall which is at 44400 Willis Ave in Laytonville. They ask that you register in advance by calling the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture office at (707) 234-6830.

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