Michael Mauldin: Collaborating for fire safety | TheUnion.com

Michael Mauldin: Collaborating for fire safety

Michael Mauldin
Other Voices

My wife and I went to another meeting on fire safety this week. Like many of my fellow Nevada County residents, I have become very interested in being “fire wise.” It’s not that I had not done my due diligence around my house as recommended by the Fire Safety Council and my insurance company … I have done quite a bit of work clearing, weeding, thinning and raking.

But since the Camp Fire a new energy has entered me and many others. We are all in this together. That sounds trite and too obvious but I now feel how important it is as a community to help each other get ready for what will be for most of us the worst day or days of our lives: a wild fire.

I have had to move past collecting lots of information on how to be fire safe to becoming a “preacher” for fire safety. To be honest, my wife is the preacher, and a darn good one. She has gone around our small 37 home community of owners and renters and braved barking dogs, “trespassers will be shot” signs, grouchy seniors, and rain and sun to try and pull together our “community” into becoming fire wise.

We have one road in and one road out — a not so neat feature of country living in beautiful Nevada County. Our road is paved, and we have a road association responsible for keeping that road in good working condition. But until now, we have not come together to become conscious as neighbors, to help each other, encourage each other, and push each other into taking responsibility for the safety of not only ourselves and our properties, but also our neighbors.

We have one road in and one road out — a not so neat feature of country living in beautiful Nevada County.

This is a process, a slow process. We had 22 neighbors at our meeting last week. Lots of enthusiasm and now we are trying to build on that to move people into action. Our first action items are: find and make ready at least two other evacuation routes out of our area.

Thanks to the willingness of a few property owners we have found two possible routes that need work. We have set dates, now comes the next part: who will show up.

Boots on the ground is where we will see real progress. I can not report on that phase of the process yet, but I am encouraged by both the willingness to communicate (we have an email and phone list) and the eagerness of a few to do hands-on work.

This is heartening for me. Sure, this is common sense self interest at work, but it is also how community is built. Regardless of any political leaning we are coming together to help each other. This is the best of humanity in action.

It gives me hope. In that fire wise meeting all ages of homeowners and many government agency people met to find new ways to be connected and helpful. The leader of those who have dedicated their lives to protect and serve us who also live in our county all were working together to make a safe environment for all.

There is so much to be done, and more of us need to get involved. We have a “mature” county. There are a great number of us who physically are limited. But here is a way to help. You can call or write your district representative and ask them what is being done to help us in Nevada County to increase the fire safety in our county. Ask them what are they doing and what bills or votes they involved in to help fund projects for us.

The old saying is true: “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” The county needs all the money/grants it can get to speed up the work of making our roadways fire safe and help assist communities within the county on dead tree clearing and harmful brush abatement.

We send the legislator our tax dollars, let’s have them put that money to work for us.

Michael Mauldin lives in Grass Valley.

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