The wildfire prevention, emergency services, and disaster readiness ballot measure, Measure V, has been endorsed by the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities after a vote of the members, according to Scott Beesley, chair of the Coalition.
“Firewise Communities in all parts of the county – Truckee, South County, Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, Nevada City, Grass Valley and on the San Juan Ridge – have also declared their own direct endorsement of Measure V,” said Beesley.
Funds from the measure will support wildfire prevention work that the Coalition has been advocating for since it began in 2017, according to Susan Rogers, who was the Coalition’s founding vice chair and is now on the Steering Committee. “At least one County staff person has attended every one of our monthly Coalition meetings for the past five years,” Rogers said. “From the beginning, Firewise Community representatives were asking for more enforcement of county codes on hazardous parcels. In 2017 there was no one to do that, but now there are full-time inspectors giving citations to owners who aren’t keeping their property safe. The County is listening and responding.”
In recent years, Firewise Communities have been asking for more free green waste disposal events and more frequent clearing alongside county roads, she said. “That all takes money, more than what’s in the current County budget, and Measure V is where the money will come from.”
Beesley acknowledged that some Communities abstained from voting either because they deemed the measure “political” or had mixed reactions to it within their neighborhood.
“Wildfires aren’t political,” said Beesley, who is a wilderness first responder and has volunteered in numerous incident command roles at wildfire evacuations in Northern California. “Fires don’t care if they burn down a town, a city, whatever. The more money that’s available to reduce hazardous vegetation around this county, the safer we all are.”
Both Beesley and Rogers also noted that Measure V, as a General tax, will provide the flexibility to designate some of its revenue as matching funds for leveraging many millions of dollars in federal and state grants that require a local match. Said Beesley, “That wouldn’t be possible if the measure had been written as a Special tax. Those really big grants can pay for more of the very large shaded fuel breaks – such as the Ponderosa West project – that Cal Fire says we need to slow down a large wildfire in Nevada County.”
For more information on the Coalition, visit www.nccoalitionfwc.com. In addition to the Advocacy and Action page which has links to Measure V information, the website also has public education resources on home hardening, defensible space, how to stay informed during an actual emergency, and more.