Despite public protests, Nevada County will ask Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a “continuing fire emergency” in the rural counties, thereby enlisting federal wildfire prevention help.
“I see it as a slap in the head to the governor to get involved with fire protection, as he did with the drought,” said Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston prior to his vote with the other four supervisors Tuesday in favor of sending a letter to Brown with that message. “He needs to get involved instead of hanging out in the boardroom.”
Supervisor Nate Beason said the move was “a simple letter asking the governor to weigh in with the feds to ask them to do what they can,” adding, “We are trying to get some attention and we need to start at the top.”
Beason, who chairs the Rural Counties Representatives of California, an advocacy group, said other counties may consider sending the same letter, as outlined in a draft letter prepared by RCRC.
But several county residents asked the board to wait to send the letter until RCRC finishes a draft strategic plan later this year.
“I urge you to wait to read RCRC’s plan before supporting it,” said Judi Caler of Nevada City. “The citizens of Nevada County won’t tolerate your handing over our protection from fires to a regional body that has no local accountability.”
Norm Sauer of Nevada City said the move “feels a little bit like divide and conquer.” He also suggested the supervisors “wait until RCRC has a program and then you will know whether to buy into it or not.”
Chuck Frank of Penn Valley agreed.
“Nevada County can do it by ourselves,” he said. “We don’t need other counties.”
He pointed, by way of example, to fire prevention work currently under way off Highway 20 near the 5Mile House in Nevada City.
“They’re thinning the logs,” he said. “They (the county workers) are doing it themselves”
Supervisors said they didn’t see the letter as committing the county to participate in any particular program.
“There’s nothing in here that I read that takes us to the level of a strategic plan,” said Supervisor Richard Anderson. “It’s simply a letter stating the obvious.”
To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.