Fire plan gives meaning to defensible space |

Fire plan gives meaning to defensible space

Fire officials hope the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will approve the county’s first fire plan on Aug. 17.

There are 42 recommendations in the plan that define and explain to residents living in the unincorporated areas of the county exactly what “defensible space” means, and how to create it around their homes.

Currently, residents of unincorporated areas of the county must adhere to a 40-year-old state code, which loosely defines defensible space – or the area around a home large enough to protect a home in case of a wildland fire. It calls for “hazardous fuels” to be removed 30 feet around a residence.

The new fire plan will increase the area to 100 feet and is designed to help residents understand exactly what hazardous fuels are and how to contain them, said Tony Clarabut, chief of the Nevada-Yuba-Placer counties unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.

A fire plan is needed because “more people are living in the wildlands and there are 40 more years of brush growth,” Clarabut said. The fire plan also creates requirements for undeveloped parcels of land that are more than 10 acres, another missing aspect of the state code.

The plan has undergone several revisions since Sept. 3, 2003, when the Board of Supervisors formed a committee to address wildland fire issues in the county. The committee has included comments and concerns from residents from community meetings, and residents can voice other concerns during public comment Aug. 17.

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