July 13, 2007
Dish area scheduled to reopen July 21
Stanford University is scheduled to reopen the Dish walking paths on Saturday, July 21, following a four-week closure necessitated by two foothills brushfires that burned nearly 200 acres.
According to Stanford Public Safety officials, two juveniles sparked the June 25 grass fire that burned about 171 acres. The cause of the 20-acre fire in the foothills on July 5 is still under investigation. No homes or structures were damaged in either fire, and no residents were evacuated, but two firefighters at the second blaze were treated for heat exhaustion.
University officials have been concerned about the safety of local residents and the thousands of people who use Dish paths because the fire danger has remained extremely high over the last several weeks. While fire and law enforcement officials have been investigating the cause of the two blazes, the university has used the time during the closure to make improvements to reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire.
Director of Community Relations Jean McCown said university crews have expanded and enhanced firebreaks in the foothills area. In addition, the university has initiated plans to install fire hydrants behind homes on Junipero Serra Boulevard.
“We remain concerned about fire safety in this area and will continue to monitor conditions on a daily basis,” McCown said. “When our assessment determines the risk of fire is high, we will close the Dish paths for appropriate periods of time. We will not make those decisions lightly, but safety has to be our first consideration.”
Among the information that will be considered in making those decisions will be “Red Flag Warnings” made by the National Weather Service, McCown said.
Details on the status of the Dish paths will be available on the “Foothills Hotline” at (650) 926-0275 and at the gates.