Friday, August 28, 2009

Jazz Fest is a GO! IFPD says not so fast!

Jazz In the Pines- Event is a GO (Statement from Bill Lowman, President)

Jazz Committee & Musicians,

According to local authorities, the Cottonwood Fire currently poses no threat to the village of Idyllwild or Idyllwild Arts Academy. Jazz in the Pines is still a go, so please come up to enjoy the music and the mountain. It’s cool up here.

You should be aware that Highway 74 is closed between Hemet and Highway 243 at Mountain Center. Visitors can use Highway 243 off Interstate 10 in Banning or Highway 74 from Palm Desert. For additional information please contact the Idyllwild Fire Protection District, CalFire or CalTrans.


Jeff Hocker, Executive Producer

Jazz in the Pines

Now wait a second, Idyllwild Fire Chief Steve Kunkle told Marshall Smith, our local agent, the following:

Idyllwild Arts gives “go/no go” Jazz in the Pines decision to IFPD Chief Kunkle!!

According to Diane Miller, speaking on behalf of Idyllwild Arts CEO Bill Lowman, Idyllwild Arts gave the “go no/go” decision to proceed with this weekend’s Jazz in the Pines Festival to Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) Chief Steve Kunkle.

It should be pointed out that Chief Kunkle is not yet part of the unified command that presently includes CalFire and the Forest Service. IFPD will be included if and when the fire crosses a designated point set by the unified command that makes it likely the fire will move uphill and easterly toward the Hill communities.

But Chief Kunkle does issue the special permit that allows the festival to proceed. Because of that, and wanting to provide potential attendees and townspeople more than adequate cancellation notice, Kunkle established a “pre-trigger” point for pulling the permits and cancelling the festival.

Should the fire cross to the south side of the North Fork of the San Jacinto, a distance of approximately 3 to 5 miles from the present fire site, Kunkle will effectively cancel the festival. Last night the fire was at Kunkle’s pre-trigger point but air support and firefighters on the fire line beat the fire back to its present location, effectively moving it farther away from Hill communities.

The fire is moving (at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28), according to the Forest Service Website, at a “moderate rate” of speed, north and away from Idyllwild, which is to the northeast. The greatest present activity is on the fire’s western flank. Winds are at 10 mph, the temperature is 107 degrees F. and humidity is at a low 7%. Kunkle believes that even should the fire cross his “pre-trigger” point it would be, using “current models,” two days before the fire reaches the Hill communities, unless wind conditions were to pick up.

Kunkle expressed concern over the economic consequence of canceling the festival, both to Idyllwild Arts and to local merchants who depend on this weekend to make much of their bottom line, but expressed that his main concern is safety.

Kunkle’s “pre-trigger” point is 1-1/2 miles west of the official Hill evacuation trigger point at Fisherman’s Point.

Kunkle said Idyllwild Arts can decide at any time prior to the point at which his responsibility kicks in, i.e. his “pre-trigger” point, to cancel the festival.

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