Dunes remain in state of emergency

January 09, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to continue a local emergency, originally declared Dec. 18, because of increasing chaos at the Imperial Sand Dunes that included the shooting death of an Arizona man.

The resolution declaring a local emergency and a request for state money followed a violent Thanksgiving holiday weekend where over 190,000 visitors to the dunes were patrolled by less than 40 officers.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management brought a national and state interagency incident team to the dunes for the New Year's holiday weekend to quell the violence. The New Year's weekend was relatively quiet but costs for the incident team could top $500,000.

The BLM is paying $425,000 to multiple agencies for salaries, equipment and miscellaneous expenses, associate California Desert District manager Bruce Shaffer said.


The county Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Border Patrol contributed personnel and equipment for the New Year's holiday weekend.

The supervisors hope the declaration of a local emergency will help the county's appeal for more money from the state.

Supervisors Gary Wyatt and Wally Leimgruber are planning to attend a state division of Off-Highway Vehicle commission meeting Thursday and Friday in Ontario.

The commission decides how much money the state will grant to agencies in areas of high off-road vehicle use.

The supervisors will review the need to continue the local emergency at least every 14 days, as advised by county Fire Chief Joe Buzo, Jr.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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