February 5, 2018 – In 2017, Nevada County had three local wildfires that caused major evacuations and the opening of Nevada County’s Emergency Operations Center. Even with the multi-agency effort to mitigate local wildfire risks, Nevada County’s lush and mountainous landscape continues to be susceptible to wildfires. In 2017, 26 percent of defensible space inspections performed by Nevada County’s Fire Prevention Assistant and CAL FIRE failed.

The most important way to protect yourself and your property from wildfire is prevention through defensible space around structures and outbuildings. Winter is one of the best times to remove trees, undergrowth, and trim up trees for vertical clearance as a part of your home’s defensible space. Learn how to create and maintain defensible space on your property on CAL FIRE’s Ready for Wildfire website.

Although the summer and fall months are normally thought to be “fire season,” California’s climate is changing. The new normal includes dry spells in winter, making wildfire a possibility even when it’s not “fire season.” Knowing that human activity causes 95 percent of wildfires, be careful when having a campfire or burn pile. Before starting your burn pile, check to see if it is a burn day in Nevada County by visiting Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District’s website.  Burn permits are required after May 1st each year and burning will be banned once fire season begins, based on ground conditions.  Visit your local CAL FIRE office to obtain a permit with instructions for creating a safe, clean burning pile.  Outdoor burning is prohibited in the City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City and the Lake of the Pines Community.

A spark created from improper use of outdoor equipment or unsafe towing can also start a wildfire. Especially during the summer and early fall months, preform any clearing before 10:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m. rather than the heat of the day.

For more information and free resources about being fire smart, visit the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County’s website.

Although prevention is important, be prepared for an emergency by reviewing your neighborhoods emergency preparedness evacuations plan and have an evacuation kit ready to go.  Find all of Nevada County’s approved Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Guides on Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services website. Sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts online.  If you have questions, please call the Office of Emergency Services at (530) 265-1515.