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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 309

Officials plan cleanup of encampment on public land that was hazard to health and safety

Torn tents, piles of mattresses, piles of human waste and bags of garbage litter the public land on a former homeless encampment southwest of Sonora.

"This is one of the worst I’ve seen in my 13 years in law enforcement," said Mark Petersen, BLM law enforcement ranger. (text continutes below)

Trash surrounds a mattress and tent at the former encampment

As a first step in cleaning up the area, BLM placed tags on the tents Thursday that they are there in violation of federal regulations and the owners have 72 hours to remove the property.

Cleanup plans are being developed taking into consideration the human waste and other possible hazards, so the actual cleanup date hasn’t been set.

The homeless campers left the area voluntarily after they heard from Sonora police that BLM would be visiting the area to enforce regulations.

"We appreciate the good cooperation we’ve had from the Sonora police," Petersen said.

In addition to the litter problem, the encampment presented a threat to public safety. "We could have had a catastrophic wildfire," Petersen said. Fires had been built in shallow holes in the ground next to head-high manzanita.

BLM California News.bytes, issue 309

Last updated: 12-05-2007