Fighting Fire with Firewise Leadership, Action |

Fighting Fire with Firewise Leadership, Action

Mark Bailey

More than 200+ members and residents attended the standing-room-only Town Hall Meeting on Feb. 27 in the Cedar Room at The Oaks Clubhouse. Organized by the Public Safety Committee and the Firewise Working Group, the program featured presentations by State and County fire officials and experts as well as LWA Board Director Randy Smith and General Manager Bryan Cox.

Based on the recent catastrophic wildfires in our fire-prone region, this seven-member panel explained the recent regulatory changes that affect all our residents and properties.

The panel emphasized the necessity of these regulations to ensure the safety of residents trying to evacuate Lake Wildwood during a wildfire as well as ensuring the speed and safety of fire and medical responders trying to get in.

Director Randy Smith introduced the new LWA compliance rule, which requires the Association to do vegetation clearing along our streets and roadways and talked about the Board-funded plan to accomplish this goal. GM Bryan Cox provided further operational details as well as the Association’s timeline.

The fundamental take-away is that Lake Wildwood is legally obligated to comply with the regulations. The panel then went on to detail in visuals and handouts what this all means to residents and homeowners, what we need to know, and how to participate in the roadside clearing process.

A key topic of discussion focused on the legally defined area that must be cleared under the policy and regulations. Called the Fuel Management Area (FMA), it borders all LWA roadways and streets and may include both Association-owned land as well as homeowner land.

The FMA can be measured in one of two ways. The first way starts 12 feet from the center line and continues for 10feet to the side of the roadway. The second way starts from the edge of the roadway pavement and continuing for ten feet.

Whichever of these two measurements is less will define the FMA abutting your property. The new rules also apply to trees planted in or near the FMA and require a 15’ vertical clearance between the lowest tree limbs and roadway pavement. Extensive information of the new regulations can be found on There you can click the link to see the video of the Feb. 27 Town Hall or click on the Emergency Preparedness/Fire Risk Reduction section to find related documents and details.

Another important take-away from the meeting and handouts is that the new policy allows members to landscape and maintain this area as an alternative to the Association clearing it. Members, who prefer to landscape the portion of their property that extends into the FMA, will need to get plan approval and agree to maintain the area.

Additionally, if a member chooses to re-landscape their property, the policy provides specifications on Firewise plants as well as landscaping layout and irrigation requirements. (This information can also be found on the LWA website, noted above).

GM Cox rounded out the program by discussing timelines and priorities. The FMA clearing program will start no later than June 1, 2020 with the first priority to clear the gate areas and major evacuation routes within the community.

The program will then expand to cover all Association roadways. Members will be provided information via door hangers and other means on the exact schedule for specific neighborhood areas with ample notification before work starts. Bryan also provided details on the dedicated team that will be responsible for the initial roadside clearing and ongoing maintenance.

There is no doubt that the residents of Lake Wildwood—and all Californians for that matter—are now “woke” to the very real wildfire threat we face.

That’s why the Association is committed to ensuring that we’re united in fighting fire with fire-wise rules and actions that can keep us safe.

Extensive information of the new regulations can be found on

There you can click the link to see the video of the February 27 Town Hall or click on the Emergency Preparedness/Fire Risk Reduction section to find related documents and details. Or you can contact Phyllis at the Association’s EMO office at (530) 432-0633 for more information.

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