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November 7, 2007
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Public hearing today on fire safety in county


Residents can meet with fire officials tonight to identify areas of concern as part of a plan being developed by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.

"We're going to show them what (information) we have so far," said Joanne Drummond, executive director of the Fire Safe Council. "There are so many areas (of the county) that need treatment."

Members of the council, fire consultants and local fire officials from various agencies will be on hand at a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the Grass Valley City Council chambers.

Officials began collecting data for the Community Wildfire Protection Plan five months ago in response to a federal request of all counties to prioritize fire safety projects. The counties that come up with a plan will get federal money to pay for the work, Drummond said.

Nevada County's plan is expected to be complete by January.

Those who attend the meeting will get an overview of what kind of data agencies have collected so far, including maps of particular hazards such as fuel loads, fire history in certain areas and ignition sources, Drummond said.

In the past, projects were driven by neighborhood complaints rather than scientific data, and hundreds of applications from a single county would be filed annually for federal assistance.

"Everyone has a fire problem, and they were all applying for the same pot of money," Drummond said. The council has hired a consultant from Rancho Cordova to work with various agencies to collect the information.

The Fire Safe Council was born when a group of active citizens came together after the 49er Fire burned 30,000 acres and 300 structures in September 1988. The group became incorporated in 1998 and is funded by a variety of sources including the county, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, air quality boards and timber groups.

The council's plan is separate from the Nevada County Fire Plan, but will be included in the county document as an appendix.

"It's nice to have those two things folded together," Drummond said.

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To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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The Union Updated Nov 8, 2007 01:53AM Published Nov 7, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.