PG&E is accelerating efforts to reduce wildfire risk in High Fire-Threat areas across California. The utility company has setup an Emergency Incident Command center in Grass Valley to rollout these efforts in Nevada County. In January of 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a High Fire-Threat District Map after working in coordination with CAL FIRE and other experts. The map identifies Elevated and Extreme Fire-Threat areas which are most vulnerable to wildfire impacting people and property.
PG&E has implemented a Community Wildfire Safety Program to work with customers and communities, in Extreme Risk regions, to take elevated precautionary measures to reduce wildfire risk. The utility company is working with customers in these regions to establish fire defense zones along powerlines. Much like defensible space around homes, these fire defense zones next to powerlines are designed to add a layer of protection against wildfire. PG&E notes the fire defense zones will 1) create a safe space between power lines, trees and brush that can act as fuel for wildfires, 2) can help slow the spread of fires and improve access for first responders in the event of a wildfire, and 3) enhance defensible space around homes, businesses and properties to improve public safety.
What does this mean for residents of Nevada County?
PG&E will be increasing fire defense zones around powerlines, in Extreme Fire-Threat areas up to 15 feet on either side of the pole line removing vegetation that could act as fuel in a wildfire. If you live in an Extreme Fire-Threat area (verify by visiting the CPUC High Fire-Threat District Map) you will receive contact from a PG&E contract arborist in the near future to address hazardous vegetation on your property. Arborists will first conduct an inspection, looking at the area 15 feet on either side of the pole. PG&E will meet with property owners in person to discuss assessment results and partner with property owners to develop a customized plan that helps reduce wildfire risk. Agreed-upon work is provided at no cost to the customer and will help mitigate the risk of extreme wildfire in the community.
For more information about the Community Wildfire Safety Program:
Wildfire Prevention Priority for Nevada County
In February, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt wildfire reduction as a top priority and area of focus for 2018.
The objective reads: "Prioritize implementation of existing County policies and programs to reduce the risk of wildfire and the effects of wildfire on life, property and the environment. Pursue hazard vegetation mitigation funding sources and support related community partners with their efforts. Explore other ways to reduce the threat and damage from wildfires."
This year, Nevada County has applied for nearly $11,000,000 in grants to pursue wildfire prevention activities. We are active partners of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County and support the efforts of our Firewise Communities to adequately prepare for wildfire by implementing defensible space around homes and roads. The Nevada County Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance requires 100 feet of defensible space is maintained around structures and along roadways that serve as primary ingress and egress routes. In addition, we are encouraging the community to register for CodeRED, a high-speed mass notification system designed to keep you safe in the event of an emergency.