Common Areas Targeted for Intense Fire Fuel Reduction | TheUnion.com

Common Areas Targeted for Intense Fire Fuel Reduction

Bob Mariani
General Manager

As with so many residential lots in Lake Wildwood, the Common Area has been largely ignored in regard to fire fuel reduction. However, that page is quickly turning as staffing and funds become available.

Aside from necessary annual maintenance, the last time that the Common Areas were thoroughly reduced of fire fuels was in 2008/09 fiscal year when LWA was awarded a grant to fund the work. Due to the passage of several years since a major clean-up, there’s considerable work ahead of us but that work has begun and will gather steam as resources become available.

Here’s what has been accomplished so far and what is planned to help assure the Common Areas are as fire resistant as possible. A major step in the fire reduction process was to apply for a planning grant which fortunately was awarded to the Association in an amount of approximately $57,000. As required by the conditions of the grant, these funds will be used for a Forester to develop a thorough plan that will identify and prioritize fire fuel that must be removed. The funds will not be used for fuel removal but will give us a direction as to what we should do and when we should do it plus the plan will give LWA a much better chance to secure grants for actual work to be accomplished.

As noted above as soon as he fire fuel reduction plan is complete, an application for a grant to perform work will be submitted to either the State, Federal Government or any other agency that is offering grant funds. In addition to these funds, this year LWA budgeted funds as for green waste removal in the amount of $10,000; $20,000 for weed removal; $51,000 for tree trimming and removal; and an additional new budget of $56,900 for fire fuel reduction. In addition to these budgeted items for the 2019/2020 Fiscal Year, a plan is being evaluated to establish an in-house crew that is dedicated specifically to common area fire fuel reduction. This plan will require the purchase of several pieces of equipment and the hiring of a crew for the next fiscal year.

Combined with the budgets and proposed crew outlined above, Greg Meyer, Director of Public Works has been able to contract with a crew called Washington Ridge that requires the Association to only pay for the supervisor of the crew. This crew will start work on an area adjacent to the sewer facility. Why start there? Well, it’s important to protect the sewer facility due to the fact that if it were destroyed in a fire, no one would be able to live in LWA for many months or longer. Once work is completed on the sewer area, we’ll use this crew to begin work in other common areas and other Association property as their time becomes available.

Another major project to reduce fuels in the Common Areas is a trial that is just about to begin using goats. The Association has entered into a contract with a local goat herder for a one month trial. The use of goats has been very successful in many locations to clear fire fuels and if successful here, a contract of at least one year will be put into place. When goats perform as expected, they will clear not only grass and small twigs but tend to go further than that so staff and/or contract labor can get into the Common Areas and complete removal of the largest of fire fuels that goats are not able to eat.

Other work taking place now to reduce fuels, include weed whacking by our staff; continued green waste debris clean-up left in the Campground; vegetation removal along the roadways to best assure fire equipment access for fire incidents; and implementation of Rule changes to encourage fire safe residential & common area properties. As with so many communities in California and other states that have not focused sufficiently on fire prevention, it will take considerable time for Lake Wildwood to reach our ultimate goal and once there it will be critical to maintain a fire safe level on an ongoing basis.

SPECIAL NOTE:

Board Parade, Should it be Cancelled?

Only two Members have signed up for the boat parade. Obviously, two boats won’t make for much of a parade. So, unless there are at least six more boats entered in the parade by 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, we’ll very likely have to cancel it. So, come on and join this tradition and get your boat registered, decorated, have some fun and win a cash prize!


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