Since April, illegal fireworks have been terrorizing the permanent residents of Bayshore. Not all are set off on the beach. For the short-term rentals on the dune, it is a shorter walk from their doorsteps to the tinder-dry beach grass before the beach.

On May 16, sheriff’s deputies blocked the entrance to the Bayshore Clubhouse’s north parking lot. Loud aerial fireworks were being set off across the street from my home, behind two STRs. I captured the display on video at dusk. By sheriff’s office policy, citations are not issued unless a deputy observes a violation.

Fireworks are not the only manmade threat to Bayshore. A few weeks earlier, my husband and I walked the dunes near our Bayshore home. We couldn’t believe how many campfire ashes were in the lower part of the higher dunes behind the STRs, all the way from the clubhouse to the spit. If you walk through the dunes south of the clubhouse today, you’ll find many chunks of charred wood left from recent campfires.

Watching and worrying about wildfires caused by clueless transient renters are now part of my daily routine, year round.

What will it take for a grass fire to jump the dune and, with ocean winds at its back, spread into Bayshore? How many cars can evacuate to Highway 101 on the one street we share with our neighbors from Sandpiper? How long will it take a wildfire to make Bayshore’s rabbit warren of streets, many dead-ends, impassable? How many families will abandon their cars and flee for their lives?

Bayshore is a densely populated community of 700 homes, of which between 104 (per the county) or 174 (per VRBO) are STRs. Assuming each of the 700 homes in Bayshore has no more than four occupants, almost 3,000 people are at imminent risk. This does not include the worst case of an additional 728 to 1,218 renters from STRs licensed for three persons per bedroom plus “two for the house.”

The permanent residents of Bayshore know the risk of tinder-dry vegetation. We know the evacuation routes, have to-go bags packed and are enrolled in Lincoln Alerts. But five consecutive years of drought, strong seasonal winds and the number of unsupervised STRs have made watching and worrying about wildfires almost unbearable.

Rebecca Hayden

Unincorporated Lincoln County (Bayshore)

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