Firefighting: Nevada County supervisors turn to cleanup and storm mitigation

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The oversight board accepted a grant on Tuesday that it intends to use to reduce fire fuels.

The unanimous approval touches on several aspects of the fire and will raise $950,000 through Cal Fire for storm cleanup, wildfire mitigation and green waste mitigation efforts.

“Protecting life and property is an important part of fuel reduction,” said Construction Department Manager Craig Griesbach.



The funds include a $98,000 contract with Robinson Enterprises, Inc. for storm debris removal; a $30,850 contract with Bay Area Tree Specialists to remove the River Fire tree; an extension of a contract with McKellar Tree Service at $300,000, including $240,000 reimbursed by a Cal Fire grant to clear entry/exit escape routes; and a contract with West Coast Arborists, Inc. for tree pruning and removal, not to exceed $150,000.

Griesbach said the county recently removed fire fuel from 200 miles of roads, helped organize events to remove 373 tons of green waste from private and public properties and cleared 100 miles of winter storm debris.



“And now, the corrective fuel mitigation process is being made possible by Cal Fire personnel, which will result in vast improvements in entry/exit routes, increased security and resiliency at public properties and private, and we’ve reduced fire fuels in our community in general,” he said.

Jim Mathias, Cal Fire Battalion Chief, and Steve Garcia, program funding watchdog and grants writer, said their organization’s mission is to protect California people and property and resources while employing a proactive response, not just a reactive one.

“We get direct grants earmarked for Nevada County,” Mathias said. “We removed a lot of debris from the winter storms and cleared the escape routes. We want to make strategic decisions within our forest fire protection plan through our cooperative method. State, county and private contractors work in close cooperation. »

MITIGATION

District 1 Supervisor Heidi Hall asked about the fund for green waste collection events being held this spring

“Our constituents want more, so how many more days can we buy with this (fund)?” she asked. “I would ask that we invest more in green waste collection events.

Hall added that the county should continue to work with PG&E because it did a good job of cutting down dying and diseased trees last winter, although it took a long time to transport the tree debris.

Supervisor Ed Scofield said some residents cannot afford to deal with hazardous fuels on their property because some escape routes require access to private roads.

“The only thing we’re looking at is countywide fire safety councils, which can provide a little more access to funding through micro-grants,” he said.

Supervisor Hardy Bullock asked about the possibility of safe shelter options and if this was another option besides clearing fire fuel.

However, Mathias said Cal Fire wants to focus its efforts on removing people from a disaster area to ensure safety.

“It could be a waste of resources,” he said. “Yuba is an important area and it is close to Nevada County. Yet, even if you create a safe zone, what if you can’t get to that zone? »

William Roller is a staff writer at The Union. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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