Grass Valley-South Nevada County May 8, 2017 – After so many years of drought and millions of trees killed by Bark Beatles, wildfires are more probable than ever. In fact, it is one of the inevitabilities of living in our rural and semirural areas. But communities can take action to prepare homes and landscapes to withstand wildfire. The River Ranch Road neighborhood is doing just that. Neighbors are coming together to ready their homes and properties to withstand a wildfire.
Local organizer, Marty Main says, “A couple of years ago, my wife and I moved from acreage alongside Highway 49 to just off the southern end of Dog Bar Road. We quickly re-discovered the difficulty of obtaining fire insurance and the real hazards of living in a Wildland-Urban Interface area. So I sought solutions to both problems. The Firewise program of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a great way to help ready communities for the eventuality of a wildfire affecting their community. So I got busy in organizing such a group in my neighborhood.”
The River Ranch Road Neighborhood is working with the Higgins Area Fire District, Cal FIRE and the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County to conduct a wildfire hazard assessment and develop a plan to address safety concerns. Residents will then work together to implement the plan.
A neighborhood informational meeting is being held Saturday, May 13th at Higgins Fire Station 22, just a block south of River Ranch Road on Dog Bar Road in South County.
Battalion Chief Jerry Good of the Higgins Area Fire District says, “Studies have shown that as many as 80% of the homes lost to wildfire could have been saved if their owners had only followed a few, simple, fire-safe practices. The Firewise program is a terrific way to do just that. The District supports any and all efforts to make our communities better able to withstand wild fires.”
The River Ranch Road neighborhood is among a growing number of communities across the country taking a long-term approach to wildfire preparedness. The national Firewise Communities program under the local assistance of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, provides free information resources and direction for residents and community leaders.
“Losses from catastrophic wildfire loss are avoidable,” said Joanne Drummond, Executive Director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County. “Communities may be designed, built, and most importantly maintained to withstand wildfires. Repeatedly, scientific research after wildfires have proven it works.”
“Contrary to popular belief, during the most extreme wildfires, it’s not the wall of flames that engulf homes,” Drummond said. “It’s the burning embers, blowing ahead of the main fire front, that start spot fires and ignite things near the structure that burns homes. This type of loss is preventable with proper design and maintenance such as non-combustible construction materials and fire-resistant vegetation.”
Information about individual and community-wide wildfire preparedness is available at www.areyoufiresafe.org and www.firewise.org.
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is one element of the Fire Adapted Communities initiative – a national effort that engages homeowners, firefighters, civic leaders and land managers to reduce wildfire risk in communities throughout the United States. The Firewise Communities Program and Fire Adapted Communities are sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and USDA Forest Service.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.