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Petition to Ban Camping in Malibu Gains Momentum

Concerns about the risk of wildfire has many Malibu residents in opposition to plans by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for camping in Corral Canyon and other parts of Malibu.

An online petition started by concerned Corral Canyon residents to ban overnight camping in the fire sensitive areas of Malibu has gained hundreds of signatures in a few days.

The petition, which was created by the Corral Canyon Fire Safety Alliance, was posted on change.org in the wake of plans by Joe Edmiston, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC), to put overnight camping in Charmlee Wilderness Park and Ramirez Canyon.

As of Thursday, 364 people had signed the online petition. On Tuesday night, there were only 108 signatures.

"For any group to allow camping in known high-risk fire areas would be irresponsible from both a civic and a liability position," the petition states. A fire in Corral Canyon in 2007 destroyed 53 homes.

At a recent SMMC board meeting, Edmiston said the conservancy has dropped its plans for camping at Bluff's Park, but still has plans on the back burner for Corral Canyon.

The petition is addressed to the SMMC and the city of Malibu. The board of directors for the SMMC and the Malibu City Council have both voted to further persue negotiations for a land swap of Charmlee Wilderness Park for Bluff's Park.

Although it was not part of the initial negotiations, the council has asked its city attorney to see if the SMMC would be interested in including Corral and Escondido canyons in any deal.

According to the petition: "The combination of extremely dry brush conditions and strong, gusty winds creates the perfect environment for easily ignitable and fast moving wild fires as is evidenced by the 2007 Corral Canyon blaze, started by campers during the night, that destroyed 53 homes, burned 5000 acres and destroyed innumerable structures, pets and personal property."

Jennifer Skophammer of Malibu wrote on the petition's web page: "They don't have enough staff to sit on each campsite and make sure fires are either not lit during dangerous conditions. If they can't hope to properly supervise camping in high risk areas, it should not be allowed."

Ilene Williger of Malibu also wrote: "Malibu in its entirety is a very, high risk area for fire. The recreational fire activities that accompany camping create an unnecessary risk of destruction for a community that has already suffered more than it needs to as a result of wild fires."

Read the full petition and learn more at http://www.change.org.

Rick Metzler January 17, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Can I help in getting signatures for this petition? If so, if someone would let me know what I can do it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you ~
Lori Jacobus January 18, 2013 at 08:15 AM
Thank you Rick! I initiated the e-petition and we are up to over 400 signatures - any hand you can lend would be greatly appreciated. It's easy to share it via e-mail; just copy and past the link here: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-city-of-malibu-and-the-santa-monica-moutains-conservancy-ban-overnight-camping-in-malibu-s-corral-canyon-and-high-risk-fire-areas . If you need any assistance in sharing it, please let me know as I'd be happy to oblige. And to be clear, the petition is to ban camping in any of Malibu's high risk fire areas, including Corral Canyon.

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