Get ready for an early wildfire season |

Get ready for an early wildfire season

Submitted to The Union

With an ongoing drought in California, the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is urging local residents to begin preparing their homes for wildfire earlier than usual. May 4-10 is Wildfire Awareness Week in California.

The Fire Safe Council is partnering with various local Firewise Communities to help residents understand what needs to be done to create defensible space around their homes and mitigate wildfire in their communities.

Firewise volunteers will be assisting with the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association's annual yard waste disposal program this weekend and will provide educational materials for implementing defensible space to those who attend.

More Firewise volunteers will be passing out materials on safe burning, Firewise landscaping and defensible space techniques at the Holiday Market near Lake Wildwood on Friday afternoon, with others at the Mountain Hardware store in Truckee on Saturday.

Residents in western Nevada County can visit the Fire Safe Council to learn more about the Firewise Communities program during the Ophir Hill Fire Protection District's Open House event from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in Cedar Ridge

Firewise Communities is a certification program under the National Fire Protection Association that brings communities together beyond the 100 feet of defensible space to reduce the fire hazard across the landscape. They work to create action plans to address hazards identified by a team of fire experts.

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Many action plan projects include evacuation route clearing, removing Scotch broom or creating small community fuel breaks to protect homes. Education is always a key component.

"Residents need to begin to think proactively to prepare for a wildfire well in advance. Once a fire is ignited, there is little to no time to prepare for evacuation or to take steps to protect your home," said Joanne Drummond, executive director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County. "When whole communities come together for fire safety, they may become a certified Firewise Community."

California's unpredictable weather has essentially created a year-round wildfire season. Though recent spring storms are a welcome sight, our state experienced a third consecutive winter with below average rainfall. Due to low fuel moisture content in vegetation, fire season is expected to begin earlier than usual.

To learn more about emergency preparedness, defensible space, programs to assist you or the Firewise Communities certification program visit or call 530-272-1122.

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