GRASS VALLEY, Calif. February 26, 2018 – The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County will honor those who have dedicated themselves to helping make our community fire safe during the 11th Annual Culinary Adventure event on April 6, 2018 at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City. The Fire Safe Council is a non-profit, local volunteer-based organization dedicated to making Nevada County safer from catastrophic wildfire through fire prevention education, fire break clearing projects, and creating nationally recognized Firewise Communities USA®. Nominations are solicited, received, and evaluated by a committee of Fire Safe Council directors before selecting those to be honored.
Nevada County Office of Emergency Services Program Manager, John Gulserian, has been selected as Fire Safe Partner of the Year. Mr. Gulserian has been an invaluable partner since coming to the area two years ago. His leadership in updating the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan facilitated an application for post-fire mitigation funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The major focus of this plan is wildfire mitigation. He has addressed a wide variety of disasters including the emergency evacuation shelter during the 2017 Oroville dam spillway emergency, as well as the October 2017 Wind Complex wildfires and subsequent recovery efforts. His individual dedication and perseverance is above and beyond his job description and worthy of recognition. His support has been critical to the success of the Fire Safe Council meeting its’ mission.
The Lake of the Pines Association will be honored as the Firewise Community of the Year. Their volunteer member Firewise Community committee has taken bold action to request that vegetation management for wildfire mitigation be placed in the updated Strategic Plan, as well as working with the association’s management team to assess and improve defensible space for all association properties. They have conducted tabletop evacuation exercises, poker-run evacuation drills with residents and continue to provide a disposal method for vegetation within their community to keep hazardous fuels from accumulating near homes. The Association sent staff members to the Defensible Space Advisor training course by the Fire Safe Council to ensure they were doing everything possible to help protect their community from wildfire. They have also implemented a variety of fuel reduction projects in collaboration with the Fire Safe Council and AmeriCorps crews on the ground. Their efforts are an example to be replicated by other Firewise Communities in Nevada County.
Lake Vera/Round Mountain Neighborhood Association President, Jim Hurley, has been selected as Volunteer of the Year. Mr. Hurley has motivated and instilled a sense of responsibility for fire safety throughout his neighborhood by posting road signs, sending e-newsletters, and educating them on the challenges of retaining homeowner insurance in a high wildfire hazard area. His efforts have resulted achieving the national Firewise Community recognition with residents self-reporting their work for nearly $250,000 of forest health and fuels reductions projects over the past two years. His personal commitment and dedication of time, energy and money exemplifies the honor and title of the Fire Safe Council’s Volunteer of the Year award.
Finally, a Special Recognition will be given to Susann Grace for her tireless commitment to assist those impacted by the wildfires in Nevada County last October. She nearly single-handedly set up and operated a thrift store in Rough & Ready to provide victims every day items they needed after losing their homes to wildfires. From securing the location, to sorting clothes, she created a “free” store and served families throughout the Christmas holiday. The response for donations was incredible and filled both fire engine bays at the local fire department. All needed to be cleaned, sorted, and displayed, which was nearly a full-time job. Donations came in from as far away as Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Kansas. Susann’s efforts to respond to those in need in our community is very deserving of the Special Recognition and should inspire others to step up during times of crisis.
The public is invited to join the Fire Safe Council in honoring these individuals. For more information about the Fire Safe Council or the April 6th Culinary Adventure, visit the FSCNC web site at www.areyoufiresafe.com or call (530) 272-1122.