It’s All About Defensible Space — Let’s get Going! |

It’s All About Defensible Space — Let’s get Going!

Virginia Gompertz

The County of Nevada’s Coalition of Firewise Communities’ meeting was held via Zoom on May 5. All reports were about defensible space. Here are a few key points from the meeting:

Cal Fire division chief Jim Mathias said burn permits are now required. You can obtain one from

Chief Mathias said the weather is concerning this week because of hot, dry wind gusts from the north (dry winds) expected from 20–30 mph. And, “We have about 50–70% below the normal rain and 3% snow pack. Therefore, the trees and brush didn’t green up,” explains Chief Mathias. To date, we’re in a moderate drought in Nevada County, but to the west of us all the way to the Pacific Ocean, it is a severe drought. Therefore, it’s really important to create your defensible space around your homes/building structures:

• This is new: 0–5 feet should be void of vegetation and 0% flammable combustible material. In a wild land fire, wind-blown embers can easily ignite your home with combustible materials near it. The Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety (the research techy people) has expert information on this. See:

The Fire Safe Council is renewing the Defensible Space Advisory Visits. Each Defensible Space Advisor will go through a virtual COVID-19 training. During home visits, all homeowners and DSAs are required to wear masks and keep with social distancing guidelines. Residents can schedule your DSA by visiting and clicking on the “DSA Visits” link. Then click on the “Contact Us” form at the bottom of the page.

The County’s (The Fire Safe Council/Nevada County Office of Emergency Services/Northern Sierra Quality District) Green Waste Drop is each Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., May 17–June 27. Penn Valley location: Penn Valley Rodeo Grounds, 10513 Spenceville Road. For more information:

Volunteers are needed at the Green Waste Drop. Social distancing and masks will be practiced.

Trisha Tillotson, director of Nevada County Public Works, said the department was awarded $868,000+ Cal-Fire Grant. This grant will allow her department to add 100 miles/year to the current 50–70 miles of clearing and mowing. Priorities will be Fire Hazard Severity Zones, population and dead-end roads. The road list will go out to the public with a schedule.

Paul Cummings, Office of Emergency Services manager, wants you to review the OES Defensible Space Checklist mailed to every home the end of April. If you need another copy or additional information, go to

Now is the time to create your defensible space. If you pruned/trimmed/limbed last year, this year will be a little easier. Just a little more trimming, and voila! You’re ready for social distancing.

Virginia Gompertz, Secretary for the Nevada County Coalition of FireWise Communities

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