NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 27, 2019 – The Nevada County Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously took three separate actions to enhance wildfire-related safety yesterday.
NCCFD to coordinate defensible space inspections
A $51,200 contract with Nevada County Consolidated Fire District (NCCFD) and an amended agreement with CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer (NEU) will provide program management for defensible space inspectors (DSI). Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services will hire three additional inspectors to handle the amount of inspections requested. A total of four DSIs will conduct Public Resource Code 4291 inspections and 4290 driveway inspections on behalf of the county. Local and state inspections will continue to perform inspections as well. Requests for inspections by residents are up from previous years, Nevada County OES Director Steve Monaghan said.
Hazardous Vegetation Management Ordinance update
The county’s “Hazardous Vegetation and Combustible Material Abatement” section of the General Code has been updated to adjust the fines for property owners who refuse to provide the required clearing. Under the old version of the ordinance, a property owner had to be convicted of a misdemeanor violation first before any fines could be imposed.
If after inspections a property owner refuses to bring their land into compliance with defensible space requirements, a notice to abate can be served by a public official. If after a third inspection a parcel owner continues to be noncompliant, the Public Official may issue a noncompliance citation. This can be waived by the Public Official if the Parcel owner is cooperating, performing best efforts, and mitigation progress is visible. An extensive appeals mechanism is set up, including hearings on whether a lien should be recorded against the property.
The new fines are structured as follows:
a. A fine not exceeding one hundred thirty dollars ($130) for a first violation.
b. A fine not exceeding seven hundred dollars ($700) for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year of the first violation.
c. A fine not exceeding one thousand three hundred dollars ($1,300) for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year of the first violation.
The full section can be read here.
Funding for additional Firewise Communities
In their final action, supervisors approved an increase of $10,400 to the contract with the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) to certify additional Firewise Communities. FSCNC works in conjunction with local fire chiefs, CAL FIRE, and Registered Professional Foresters (RPF) to develop individual community wildfire hazard assessment reports, recommendations, and associated action plans to proactively address the wildfire hazard.
Nevada County currently has 24 certified FireWise communities and approximately 24 “communities in training.” In 2019, the FSCNC plans to complete certification for the following communities:
Greenhorn (District 1)
You Bet (District 1)
Bear River (District 2)
Sierra Knolls (District 2)
Foxwood (District 3)
Cedars (District 3)
Wolf Mountain (District 3)
Ananda (District 4)
Upper Rough & Ready (District 4)
Juniper Hills (District 5)
The creation of FireWise communities is one of the most effective tools to reduce fuel loading and heighten awareness of wildfire danger, according to FSCNC’s Chief Operating Officer Janie Jones. Said Jones: “We are excited to continue our partnership with the County of Nevada on these 10 additional Firewise Communities. The need far outweighs the available resources at this moment. So, having the county as one of our greatest supporters in certifying more communities is extremely crucial to the Fire Safe Council, but more importantly to the residents. The response to these grass roots Firewise Communities has been wonderfully overwhelming. These communities are our biggest Defensible Space and Firewise activists, they are our boots on the ground, leading by example in their neighborhoods. We are very fortunate to serve in a county that has a long-standing history of recognizing the need for the outreach and education programs that the Fire Safe Council offers to the public. We are proud to live in a county that has such a successful model for not only the Fire Safe Council, but the collaboration and coordination between the public, local government, fire agencies and our volunteer groups. These additional communities will bring Nevada Counties totals of Firewise Communities to one of the highest in the state.”