NAME GAME… Squid sometimes thinks about naming the lair – Cala Mar or Sea Haven – but Squid prefers to keep it basic, just numbers and street. So too it seems with Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service, which have the least creative naming process imaginable. Fire started near River Road? Call it the River Fire. Started near Dolan Road? Dolan Fire.
So it went in the case of the Carmel Fire, which started about a mile off Carmel Valley Road. Almost immediately, officials about 20 miles down the road in Carmel-by-the-Sea found themselves wishing officials had used the full street name and called it the Carmel Valley Fire. Within hours of the fire starting on Aug. 18, Mayor Dave Potter and City Administrator Chip Rerig decided to ask their chief of police if he might run a request up the food chain at Cal Fire; they decided, wisely, against asking for a rebrand.
“Given how hectic everything is, we weren’t expecting much success,” Potter says. Rerig adds: “We did not end up asking, because they’re so slammed. We just wanted to make sure it was clear it wasn’t the village that was burning.”
They say there were calls coming in from people concerned that Carmel itself was on fire. Squid would suggest they register for text message alerts and use the nifty and helpful tools the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services has developed – but in classic Carmel fashion, they have their own alert system: an old siren on top of the police department.
SELFIES WITH BESTIES… Squid’s underwater lair is well protected from fire, but still, Squid’s three-chambered heart beat strong and fast when Squid heard stories of humans going above and beyond to help each other out during the worst of the fires. Squid was looking for opportunities to lend a helping tentacle when Squid came across a public chastening of Steve McShane, Salinas City Councilmember and current county supervisor candidate.
McShane, whose activity on social media borders on selfie-driven compulsive, posted information to Facebook about the River Fire, stating, “Leadership fighting the fire has assured that Las Palmas will be spared… ”
Comments poured in, a la: “Leadership can’t guarantee shit, Steve McShane. You don’t control fires and you know it.”
His post was edited or deleted, but someone added after the fact: “Your original post has been seen around the state of California, Steve. You need to be held responsible for the false hopes.”
Las Palmas was mostly spared, even though the flames aren’t yet out. But Squid can’t imagine a firefighter – even one of “leadership” rank – predicting the way a wildfire would go.