NEVADA CITY, Calif. January 22, 2019 – Did you know of the existence of a pond, and a ball field, behind the Nevada County Library? Besides the occasional glint of sunlight visible on North Bloomfield Road, nothing hinted at the existence of the pond – until last week.
Nevada County’s Facilities Department is doing a major push to reduce fuel loads on county-owned properties and the results are clearly visible.
Utilizing CAL FIRE’s Washington Ridge crews, brush and trees are being thinned and removed.
Recently, one of the four WAR crews finished treating the portion between North Bloomfield and Wet Hill Road. The 16-person crews, under the supervision of a CAL FIRE Captain, first manually cut the brush, limbed up trees and piled non-chippable materials into burn piles.
CAL FIRE Captain Ayers, supervising the WAR crew, was happy to explain the process. After completing the required CEQA analysis, work began on the county-owned parcels. The inmate crews, trained in chainsaw use and equipped with safety gear, worked their way around the Rood Center, brushing the land behind the county building to Wet Hill Road. Then, winding their way around the public land, they continue to build this shaded fuel break while at the same time making the roads safer for an evacuation. “We’re out here every day, rain or shine.” Ayers said.
Most of the brush was chipped on site, but viny blackberries for example can’t be fed through a chipper. Crews piled the vines together with older, downed materials into piles and on a permissible burn day burned the piles.
The result of their work, which is provided to public agencies at $240/day for the whole crew, can be seen driving along North Bloomfield Road and on Hwy 49 along the Rood Government Center.
Fuels reduction benefit a major evacuation route
Besides the visual impact, North Bloomfield is a major evacuation route for both the North Bloomfield Graniteville area but also for the Lake Vera Purdon Road neighborhoods.
During summer months, the population of these areas increases due to the influx of people recreating both at Edwards and Purdon Crossings as well as various youth and adult camps.
Funding for the project came from the County’s facility management budget.