Nevada City, June 2, 2023—Nevada County Office of Emergency Services (OES) is investing substantial grant funding in three critical wildfire and multi-hazard strategic plans: an update to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), an update to the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP), and for the first time, launching a Nevada County Evacuation Study. Nevada County residents are encouraged to participate in a survey, available in English and Spanish, from June 1st through August 31st, to provide input in the process.
“We see planning around wildfire protection, hazard mitigation, and evacuation as critical for developing a roadmap for resilience. These plans will help us chart our course for addressing some of the most pressing challenges before us,” says Alex Keeble-Toll, Nevada County OES Senior Analyst.
The growing scale and frequency of wildfire is undeniable. Five of the State’s six largest fires burned at the same time in 2020. Extreme weather events like the snowstorms of the past two winters have resulted in large scale power outages. Internet and communications have been disrupted. Roads and homes have faced damage. Schools and public services have been brought to a standstill.
Investing in Strategic Wildfire Planning
Updated plans are not only essential for providing a framework for prioritizing the community’s most tangible solutions, they are also important for establishing eligibility for grant funding.
“We see these concurrent plan updates, and evacuation study, as an incredible opportunity for Nevada County to leverage technical analysis and community input to put our best foot forward,” says Craig Griesbach, OES Director.
Local government, special districts, and community non-profits use these plans to guide project development and demonstrate priorities to potential funders when pursuing grants. Each of these plans is intended to be developed collaboratively with a host of stakeholders to ensure the broadest cross-section of community expertise and experience is captured. Updating these plans as a community provides a venue for feedback and participation from agency partners as well as the public.
Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)
This year, Nevada County received $250,000 from the Community Wildfire Defense Grant to update the CWPP.
“This plan will use a science-based approach to assess wildfire hazard and wildfire risk while also considering the values we hold as a community. We are looking forward to hearing from residents and our partners. There is a wealth of expertise and creativity in the community,” says Alessandra Zambrano, Nevada County OES Wildfire Coordinator.
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP)
Nevada County also received $112,500 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the LHMP.
“The goal of hazard mitigation planning is to minimize the impact of future disasters. In coordination with key partners and members of the public, Nevada County will identify risks and vulnerabilities common to our area. We use this information to develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from similar events,” says Paul Cummings, OES Program Manager. Mitigation plans are used nation-wide and are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction.
Nevada County Evacuation Study
Nevada County has unique challenges when it comes to evacuation which is why CAL FIRE granted $135,422 to develop an Evacuation Study.
“With this study we are intending to pair local technical expertise with wildfire behavior and traffic modeling. Our goal is to identify and prioritize feasible evacuation route improvement projects,” says Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant and OES Emergency Operations Coordinator Sean Scales.
Funding for this project is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Wildfire Prevention Grants Program. The Wildfire Prevention Grants Program is funded through California Climate Investments (CCI), which puts cap-and-trade dollars to work. The program funds hazardous fuels removal, wildfire prevention planning, wildfire prevention education, and wildfire prevention research with an emphasis on improving public health and safety.
To learn more about the Roadmap to Resilience visit ReadyNevadaCounty.org.