How to ignite county’s fire plan |

How to ignite county’s fire plan

Despite months of hard work by a broad range of Nevada County residents, the county’s recently approved Fire Plan can’t sit on a shelf and prevent runaway wildfires.

The colorful diagrams, 42 specific recommendations and expansive glossary contained in the plan just can’t do the trick – unless they’re put into action.

Protecting the county and its residents from fire requires brush clearing, educating property owners, surveying roads, filling water tanks and adhering to the other recommendations contained in the plan.

To discuss how to enact the plan, the Fire Plan Committee will meet this morning to develop implementation guidelines to present to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors on March 8, said Tony Clarabut, regional chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

There will be an opportunity for public comment at the meeting, held at Fire Station 84 at Highway 49 and Coyote Street.

The Fire Plan was initiated by the Board of Supervisors in September 2003 in response to growing concerns about wildfire, a natural process that has been suppressed by woodland residents and then exacerbated by the growing population.

The Nevada County Fire Plan is available at

Top recommendations in plan

• All buildings outside city limits must be surrounded by a fuel break. The size of the break depends on the slope and type of vegetation. In general, 100 to 200 feet surrounding the building must be cleared. Single trees or irrigated plants may remain within the break.

• Undeveloped properties smaller than 10 acres should also be groomed, but less strictly than properties with buildings. Small separated sections of natural vegetation can be retained.

• The Nevada County Board of Supervisors should ensure the public is educated about the plan and helped to comply with its requirements. Proactive enforcement should be minimized.

• Public entities managing huge chunks of Nevada County (the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management) should work together to determine how to prevent catastrophic wildfire on large parcels.

• Programs providing chipping services and advice on vegetation management should be funded.

• County roads not maintained to current standards should be identified and upgraded.

• Private roads should be maintained in the same condition as they were approved.

• The county’s Department of Transportation and other public agencies should analyze private roads that have been offered to the county, identify those important for public safety, and include them in the county’s road system.

• The Board of Supervisors should investigate ways to finance a system of strategically placed water tanks.

• Outdoor burning should be discouraged and vegetation pickup, mulching and composting should be emphasized.

• The county Fire Marshal’s Office should receive money to ensure staff levels are adequate to implement the Fire Plan.

Source: Nevada County Fire Plan

Know and go

What: Fire Plan Committee meeting discussing implementation of the Fire Plan.

When: 9 a.m. today.

Where: Fire Station 84, north of Nevada City off Highway 49 and Coyote Street.

Why: Property owners will be responsible for adhering to the Fire Plan’s guidelines.

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