Nevada County, Calif. January 7, 2020 – Fire Safe Council, CAL FIRE NEU, and County of Nevada report 398 acres have been treated within the Ponderosa West Grass Valley Defense Zone Project, the highest priority hazardous fuel reduction project in the Nevada County Community Wildfire Prevention Plan, putting it well ahead of their 300 acre year-end goal.

Identified by CAL FIRE and Governor Newsom as a top priority to protect one of California’s most wildfire-vulnerable communities, the defense zone provides an effective location for fire suppression activities. It creates a shaded fuel break, or defense zone in a high risk region adjacent to the City of Grass Valley and focuses on both private and Nevada County-maintained land. The footprint of the project includes 1,237 acres and offers protection to the communities of Lake Wildwood, Penn Valley, and Rough and Ready to the west, as well as the City of Grass Valley.

Site visit of the shaded fuel break in Nov. 2019. Photo: YubaNet

Treatment includes a custom shaded fuel break prescription for each parcel developed by a California Registered Professional Forester in accordance with the property owner. Professional forestry methods are implemented to establish vegetation that is diverse in age, species, and size and recommendations for ongoing maintenance are included.

“It’s been a big a year in our community. We are proud to be a part of such a great group of stakeholders, partners and residents in Nevada County. We are grateful to serve a community that is so passionate about wildfire preparedness and safety and look forward to taking that enthusiasm in to 2020.” says Fire Safe Council Executive Director, Jamie Jones.

Fire Safe Council Executive Director, Jamie Jones and District 1 Supervisor Heidi Hall during a site visit. Photo: YubaNet

Last month, County of Nevada submitted a grant in coordination with the Fire Safe Council, CAL FIRE and Bureau of Land Management to extend the Ponderosa West Grass Valley Defense Zone across additional federally and privately owned land. “Working with CAL FIRE, BLM, and Fire Safe Council in combination with private property owners allows us to dramatically leverage our individual resources. We look forward to building upon this current momentum with Phase II of the Ponderosa Project,” says Paul Cummings, County of Nevada OES Program Manager.

“I could not be more pleased with the collaboration and hard work exhibited by all the allied agencies. This combined with the participation and cooperation from the private landowners within Nevada County will allow us to continue with our priorities in the protection of communities from the impacts of large damaging wildfires.” Adds CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief, Brian Estes.

Fire Safe Council of Nevada County , a non-profit organization with 20 years of experience advocating and assisting on defensible space clearing projects, is managing this project. Community questions or concerns should be directed to the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County at or call (530) 272-1122.

For maps, project updates, and to learn more about this shaded fuel break please visit