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From the August 2012 Battle Mountain News

posted Jul 3, 2014, 2:22 PM by Joe Christy

Preparing for Wildfire at Different Scales

Our wildland & wildland urban interface firefighters control 98% of wildfires in the US before they grow to 25 acres. The remaining 2%, fires like Bonny Doon's 520 acre Martin Fire of 2008 and 7,817 acre Lockheed Fire of 2009 are where your fire safe council is focusing its energies.

Preparation requires work at three scales. On the landscape level, our grant funded projects and proposals hev been aimed at constructing strategic fuel breaks and securing major emergency thoroughfares. At the individual property level, our August 18 summer event (see over) kicks off a multi-year effort to educate and mobilize homeowners to prevent their homes from igniting during the inevitable wildfires that sustain our California ecology. Today we'd like to talk about the neighborhood level in between.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Federal grant funds ultimately come from our taxes; the money goes up the chain to Washington, then comes back down, loosing a chunk every step of the way. It is far more effective to keep the money local.

The Bonny Doon Fire Safe Council is expressly organized to do just that. We are very lucky to have the Ben Lomond Conservation Camp on our mountain. Their 12 to 15 man crews are available for just $200/day to 501(c)(3) non-profits community groups with the requisite liability insurance, such as your Fire Safe Council, to perform fire preparedness projects in the public interest.

In practice this means getting a group of neighbors together to come up with an idea and the minimal funding for a neighborhood project. The crews are prohibited from working on projects for individual small landowners or on creating or maintaining the 100' of defensible space around homes mandated by Public Resources Code 4291. The 2010 San Mateo/Santa Cruz County Community Wildfire Protection plan, http://www.santacruzcountyfire.com/cwpp.html defines and prioritizes the public interest for our purposes. Examples are securing a shared access road, clearing shared space, chipping the slash generated in a neighborhood-wide initiative to clear defensible space, etc. Further examples are in our Community

We are actively soliciting projects for the coming fire prevention season. We will work with you in scoping and planning the project, fill out the necessary paperwork, and coordinate the logistics of actually implementing the project. There are a very small number of neighborhoods in Bonny Doon that are already so fire-adapted that their safety couldn't be improved by a neighborhood project.

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