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Federal Agency Using Local Fire Code to Attempt Land Grab
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May 19, 2004 -- The responsibility of local fire districts around the nation are abruptly changing from fire protection to facilitating access to private properties by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), under the auspices of fire protection. USFWS's agenda is to look for and map endangered species and wildlife habitats. This is happening through the establishment of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP), which are severely restricting or eliminating private property rights around the nation.

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) have two primary effects on the landscape: first, they prohibit the innovation that promotes ecological diversity and productivity, and; second, they lead to an increased accumulation of fire fuel. Even the ostensible purpose of an HCP -- environmental protection -- is not served. Local adoption of an international fire code, called the Urban Wildand Intermix Code (UWIC), is the first step toward creating a local HCP.

Following is an open letter sent to all fire districts and district boards in Santa Cruz County, California:

TO: All Fire Districts & District Boards In Santa Cruz County, CA

RE: UWIC (Urban Wildland Intermix Code)

At your upcoming meetings you will be addressing the proposed addition of Chapter 7.93 to the Santa Cruz County Code. The addition of this code needs to be dropped, or at the very least postponed until the General Public has had an opportunity to evaluate the effect this new ordinance will have on people's Private Property Rights.

This proposed new ordinance is the beginning of the process of implementing the HCP (Habitat Conservation Plan) which will clearly put you squarely in the middle of a very serious potential problem between the private property owner & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). namely the real & dangerous potential for Taking of Private Property. Your responsibility very dramatically will change from one of fire protection to one of facilitating the access to our private properties by USFWS, under the auspices of Fire Protection. USFWS's agenda is to look for & map Endangered Species & Wildlife Habitats. The Fire District should not be involved in this underhanded and devious operation.

There are so many private property owners who, like myself, welcome Fire Protection officials and staff because we know your agenda is to bring about excellent fire protection to us all. However, USFWS and their unrelenting determined pursuit of finding and mapping endangered species plants and habitats on private property are a source of extreme distrust, anger and hostility by many property owners. Why? Because 'USFWS' and 'Endangered Species' translates to many of us to be synonymous with that onerous 'taking of private property'. We all know the horror stories. At this time USFWS does not have the right to enter our private properties. The proposed addition of Chapter 7.93 will give them that right, under your auspices and make you the enforcers of the ENDANGERED SPECIES PLANTS & HABITAT MANAGEMENT. This should never happen!

If it does happen, fire district personnel will no longer be welcome on my private property, and from my conversations with others, you may not be welcome on many private properties.

With the addition to Chapter 7.93, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service won't need Gestapo tactics to accomplish their goals of searching and mapping our properties; they will (they think) enter our lands like a lamb, following the good shepherds of the fire districts.

We need to make these meetings worthwhile and look at modifying existing ordinances to meet the very legitimate concerns of FIRE PROTECTION.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.
Nick Vrolyk
PS: This letter is to be entered into the public record
About Freedom 21 Santa Cruz

Freedom 21 Santa Cruz is a freedom policy center that celebrates the principles of self governance and individual liberty which inspired the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. We are individuals who advance the freedom of all by promoting and strengthening the practice of Constitutional administration in local, state, and national government. Participation in Freedom 21 Santa Cruz is open to the public. Participants include people from all political parties who are united in the pursuit of individual liberty and the protection of our US Constitutional Republic.

For more information or to make a contribution, please visit

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