NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 8, 2019 – The approval of the Ponderosa West Grass Valley Defense Zone grant application is good news for Nevada County and their partners in wildfire prevention. The project is part of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), and ranks as the highest priority hazardous fuel reduction plan for Western Nevada County.

The intent of the proposal is to modify fuel loads to create a defense zone amongst homes and along roads, thinning trees, shrubs, brush and other vegetative growth. Sustainable forestry methods will be implemented to ensure that the fuel reduction treatment will result in remaining vegetation that is diverse in age, species, and size to ensure a healthy, defensible, self-sustaining landscape.

The shaded fuel break defense zone will not remove all vegetation and is not intended to halt the spread of wildfire entirely. Rather, the defense zone is designed to slow the spread of fire and provide a safe and effective location for fire suppression activities including the staging of ground resources for direct fire attack.

Nevada County and the Fire Safe Council view the Ponderosa West Grass Valley Defense Zone Project as a model and effective educational tool for communicating best management practices for hazardous vegetation. This project will serve as an example for good land stewardship.

Participating landowners will volunteer their time to assist in flagging property boundaries, meet the Registered Professional Forester to verify treatment prescriptions and help monitor the Licensed Timber Operator.


The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a collaborative community plan developed in partnership with local and state governmental representatives, as well as in consultation with federal agencies and other interested parties. These plans describe local wildfire hazards, prioritize hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommend the types and methods of treatment that will protect at-risk communities and essential infrastructure. The Nevada County CWPP was collaboratively updated in 2016 by numerous partners including: the Nevada County Fire Safe Council, Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District, Caltrans, Tahoe National Forest, Nevada Irrigation District, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Planning Department, CAL FIRE, Tahoe-Donner Association, National Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, Sierra Pacific Industries, Nevada County Fire Chief’s Association and Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

The primary goal of the CWPP is to protect human life, private property, essential infrastructure and natural resources through the implementation of fire prevention projects that work to increase public awareness, improve forest health, sustain local wildlife and preserve the natural beauty of the area through a shared responsibility concept.

First of hopefully many successful grant applications

Nevada County has also applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a grant to administer aggressive roadside vegetation management on the more than 400 roads it manages. Adjacent to and within the Ponderosa West Grass Valley Defense Zone Project are a total of 10.38 miles which will receive vegetation treatment if the grant is awarded which will complement and extend the impact of CAL FIRE funding in this region.

Editor’s note: The final approval and awarding of the funding is in April. The inclusion of the project in the 45-day report is the first step towards the approval. Fingers crossed!