You can see Hwy 49 from the side road now. Photo YubaNet
You can see Hwy 49 from the side road now. Photo YubaNet

NEVADA CITY, Calif. June 28, 2019 –  Nevada County, in collaboration with CAL FIRE’s Washington Ridge crews has started clearing brush and removing excess fuels on 20 acres along the 49 corridor near the Juvenile Hall Facility.  The sound of chainsaws, weed trimmers, the thud of branches and small trees hitting the ground are drowning out the passing cars on Hwy 49.

The project is set to take 2-3 months, depending on the availability of the Washington Ridge crews. These crews are dispatched to wildfires frequently, with those assignments taking precedence over vegetation management projects.

Captain Christopher Sauer was supervising Washington Ridge Crew 3 this morning. He pointed to the piles of Scotch Broom cut by the inmate crew, “We’re piling this now and then come back later in the fall/early winter and burn them.”

These piles will be burned once winter rains set in. Photo: YubaNet
These piles will be burned once winter rains set in. Photo: YubaNet

Sauer, a Nevada City resident, explained the crews have been busy doing projects for Nevada County Facilities, Public Works, the City of Nevada City and others. “We’ve been working on Champion Mine, Old Downieville Highway and along Hwy 49. All the work make county properties and everyone in the area safer.” The crews completed a fuel break along North Bloomfield Road and around the Rood Center earlier this year.

“We have been talking to homeowners about making sure their property is ready for wildfire. Creating defensible space and optimizing forest health is a priority for the County, too ” says Office of Emergency Services Program Manager, Captain Jeff Pettitt.
Removing brush, invasive Himalayan blackberries and Scotch Broom, limbing up trees and removing dead or unhealthy trees is not only creating defensible space, it opens up the view significantly. Located across of Hirschman’s Pond, the county-owned property stretches along Hwy 49. Over the years, several small fires started on the property, mainly caused by abandoned campfires.
WAR 3 crew working their way through the dense brush. Photo: YubaNet

“The County Facilities team has been working hard to make sure County buildings have ample defensible space. We recently completed a project in front of the Eric Rood Administrative Center as well as Hirschman’s Pond. The work around the Juvenile Hall and Highway 49 is a continuation of this important fuels reduction effort,” says Justin Drinkwater, Director of Facilities Management.

“Fuel reduction projects that create defensible space for facilities are a top priority for the County. We’re encouraged by the community support and the increased level of engagement in our wildfire preparedness efforts across the board. If people want to learn more about what they can do start at,” adds OES Manager Captain Jeff Pettitt.
Photo gallery of the project