Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fire plan recommendations to the Board of Supervisors

At the Nevada County govt website, the Nevada County fire plan (sorry, it's PDF; you can use Adobe's PDF to HTML form to convert it, but some parts may be lost in the conversion)

The following is a rough summary of the recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. This post does not address the impact of the plan; if you decipher the appendices (not covered in this post) you may be able to make such prognostications yourself. No guarantees as to accuracy of the following, except to say that errors were not deliberate.

Goal I. Reduce fire severity through fuels management (thinning trees, cutting brush etc)

Objective A: Improve public awareness and understanding
  • Recommendation #1. develop school curriculum to educate on wildfire
  • Recommendation #2. student laboratory to study fire
  • Recommendation #3. hold seminars for landowners on good stewardship techniques
  • Recommendation #4. create a Video Lending Library (??? Hot news flash - there's this thing called the "web") on this material

Objective B: ...develop a vegetation management prescription for defensible space around structures
  • Recommendation #5. Defensible Space around structures: Get Supervisors to adopt Fuel Mgmt prescription (appendix B)

Objective C: Develop prescription for defensible community-level fuel modifications on the wildland portion of all parcels 10 acres or less. Require parcels larger than 10 acres which are immediately adjacent to parcels 10 acres or less to provide fuels management to the maximums under this recommendation.
  • Recommendation #6. [extend Defensible Space into nearby parcels:] Board of Supervisors adopt a fuel management prescription (found in Appendix C) as the foundation for a new ordinance for wildland fuels management on improved and vacant parcels in and adjacent to communities or neighborhoods of ten acres or less and on parcels greater than 10 acres that are immediately adjacent to smaller parcels.

Objective D:
Phase it in over 5 years, starting with education; ultimate implementation
through education, assistance and enforcement.
  • Recommendation #7: The FPC recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopt as a
    fire risk reduction policy the following implementation timeline:

    Year 1:
    Public Education
    Assistance Program .
    Enforcement of Defensible Space

    Year 2: adds
    Point Of Sale Disclosure For Developed And Undeveloped Parcels
    Enforcement at Building Permit Issuance

    Years 3,4: adds
    General Enforcement Emphasized In Very High Hazard Severity Zones

    Years 5 and up: adds
    General Enforcement Emphasized In High Hazard Severity Zones
    General Enforcement Of Community/ Neighborhood Fuel Management

Objective E:
Provide fuel management consulting service contacts for private property owners
of parcels greater than 10 acres in size.
  • Recommendation 8: The FPC recommends that resource agencies...jointly develop guidelines for fuel management on large parcels. These guidelines must take into account variations based upon fuel types, differing land management objectives and proximity to communities/ neighborhoods.
  • Recommendation 9: The FPC recommends that the Resource agencies provide
    training to fuels management contractors on the guidelines for fuel management on
    large parcels, and after successful completion of training, placed on a published hiring
  • Recommendation 10: The FPC recommends that the Resource agencies prepare and
    make available to the public a directory of Agency Advisors, Private Consultants and
    Fuels Management Companies to assist landowners in being proper stewards of their

Objective F (and a pony too - sorry, the duct tape is slipping)
Develop, organize and fund, a property owner assistance program.
  • Recommendation 11: In recognition of the relationship between fuel reduction and public safety, the FPC recommends that the Board of Supervisors seek a permanent funding mechanism for the provision of chipper services or alternative services at a reduced rate and free fuels management advising services to the landowners of Nevada County.
  • Recommendation 12: Provide consulting services for private landowners for the
    restoration and rehabilitation of wildlands impacted by fire, insect, and disease.
  • Recommendation 13: Create Directory of Assistance of Programs for large landowners
    i. e. Vegetation Management Program, California Forest Improvement Program,
    Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
  • Recommendation 14: Provide financial aid for community based fuel reduction to
    those landowners who can demonstrate financial need based upon established criteria
    and who are incapable of accomplishing the fuels management on their own.


  • [Recommendation 15: identify County maintained roads that are not good enough, and improve them when we can afford to]

Ensure that private roads that are required as a condition of approval through the
Subdivision Map Act are maintained to the design standard that they were originally required to be built to.

  • Recommendation #17: Review private roads that have offers for dedication placed upon them and develop mechanisms for [having county take over and maintain the ones that are important]
  • Recommendation #18: [try to figure out how to pay for this]

  • Recommendation 19: [figure out how to pay for a countywide rural fire protection water storage tanks...stop requiring ones on individual parcels]
  • Recommendation 20: Include water tank inspection along with fuels management(brush) inspection

Develop an emergency public notification system and educate about it
  • Recommendation 21: ...automated emergency public notification system which uses the phone system to distribute information to user identified zones...purchase this system with Office of Homeland Security Grant funds...

Create a business environment that encourages the development of a sustainable
fuels management industry...
  • Recommendation 22: ...workshops for fuel reduction contractors


The four methods of interface fire hazard mitigation most often associated with
increased structure survival are:
1. Defensible space around structures
2. Landscape level fuel management
3. Ignition resistant building construction
4. Defensive actions by firefighters during the wildfire exposure.
However, it is important to have reasonable expectations of mitigation measures. A one-third or two-third reduction in historic loss patterns is reasonable with full
implementation of both fuel reduction and improved building construction.

Review and revise, as needed, existing wildland fire related codes and ordinances
to address the recognized hazards of building and living in the wildland urban
  • Recommendation 24: ...adopt recommended changes
  • Recommendation 25: prefer green waste pickup, mulching or composting
  • Recommendation 26: Provide green waste pickup services or drop off days

Consider new fire safety Codes and Ordinances to meet the county's fire safe
  • Recommendation 27: ...expanded defensible space ordinance
  • Recommendation 28: after 5 years, evaluate whether or not things have improved enough that the rules can be loosened


Develop[ed] A Template for A Community/ Neighborhood Fire Safe Plan (evacuation plans, safety zones, public education etc)

GOAL: V get agencies to work together on this

  • Recommendation 41: Review the effectiveness of the fire plan in a minimum of five years and each five years thereafter.
  • Recommendation 42: if it gets better, loosen the restrictions

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