Claremont Insider: Fire Threat Fades

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fire Threat Fades

The U.S. Forest Service has been busy this past week managing the fire response personnel fighting the Big Horn Fire. The fire was listed as 72% contained yesterday, and is expected to be fully contained by 6pm Sunday, barring an unforeseen flare-up. The fire has burned 461 acres as of yesterday's incident report.

Demobilization of the firefighting crews has begun, and the number of personnel attached to the incident was down to 388 yesterday from a high of 755. Mt. Baldy Rd. remained closed at Shinn Rd. to non-residents, but the Mt. Baldy Village school reopened yesterday.

Today's Claremont Courier has a story by Tony Krickl on the fire. Krickl's article notes that Claremont's CodeRed system was used to notify about 21,000 residents of the fire's status. (Long-time readers may recall that CodeRed was implemented during the City Attorney-induced turmoil of Paystubgate last September.)

Krickl's article also reports that fire investigators believe the fire was caused by people, though it is unknown at this point if it was intentional.

The Daily Bulletin had an article of a different sort about the Forest Service. According to a piece by Rod Leveque, Rancho Cucamonga resident and former Forest Service accountant Kathy Stamps was arrested yesterday and stands accused of embezzling over $1.4 million from the Forest Service:

Prosecutors allege Stamps, who worked as an accountant for the Forest Service office in Arcadia, transferred the money from government coffers into the bank account of her family's corporation, DKLD, between January 2002 and October 2004.

They say the money had been allocated to the Forest Service by private companies for public-works projects in the Angeles National Forest.

The lost money was discovered by other employees after Stamps left her job.

According to public records and the corporation's Web site, Stamps and her husband used money from DKLD to open several franchise businesses in the Inland Empire, including a Wing Stop restaurant at 7212 Archibald Ave. in Rancho Cucamonga.

The restaurant, which opened in 2004, specializes in chicken wings.

Talk about the federal government pumping money into the local economy!