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Sierraville Firewise Community Meeting Recap Oct. 13, 2021

The following synopsis provided by Mike Blide -

Thank you to all of the citizens who came out for the first Sierraville Firewise Community meeting. There were about 40 persons in attendance, and we were treated to some excellent speakers who provided some comforting updates about fuels thinning projects in the works, and gave us a solid roadmap for forging ahead on our goal of becoming a Firewise USA Site.

Mike Blide started things off with some introductions, and made a plea for a couple more committee members to join he, Paul Cueto, and Sara Wright in spearheading this effort. The time commitment is fairly minimal, with perhaps quarterly meetings (Los Dos for Margaritas!), and some other special projects throughout the year. Please contact Mike by replying to this email if you want to step up and help.

Paul reminded us to remain vigilant. There are many persons poaching campsites in the woods around Sierraville through the summer, and many have illegal campfires. If you see something potentially dangerous, please contact the Sierra County Sheriff at 530 289 3700.

Sierra County Fire Protection District Commissioner Rick Maddallena spoke about Everbridge, which is essentially a reverse 911 program that can provide alerts to your cell phone in the event of an emergency situation such a severe weather, wildfire, floods, or evacuation notices. SIGN UP NOW FOR EVERBRIDGE! He also spoke about Sheriff Mike Fisher’s efforts with ZoneHaven, which pre-determines specific geographic areas and names them so that evacuation warnings and mandatory evacuations can be readily implemented in the event of an emergency. That process is nearing completion. Thanks Rick, for your efforts.

Eric Petterson is the Zone Fire Management Officer with the USFS and operates within Sierraville and Truckee. He spoke about three projects. The Blatchley Project is a 5000+ acre fuels thinning project that is nearing approval and will encompass much of the terrain on the north side of Highway 89 as it runs south toward Truckee. The Randolph Wildland Urban Interface Project is a shovel-ready (spring of 2022) fuels project that encompasses much of the National Forest property that borders privately-held parcels along West Willow and Old Truckee Road in Sierraville. Finally, the Sierraville Area Fuels Reduction Project is a program of the Sierra County Firesafe program and is designed to do fuels treatment on PRIVATE properties that border USFS lands surrounding the town. With the combination of treatments on public and private land, it is hoped that defensibility and fire-resiliency will be enhanced, and that the intensity and severity of fires may be reduced. Thank you Eric for an excellent presentation (on his daughter’s 13th birthday, no less!).

Finally, Ryan Tompkins, the UC Cooperative Extension Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor for Sierra County spoke about the process of establishing a Firewise USA Site here in Sierraville. Clearly the enthusiasm is here, and we are well on our way. The next step is to do a Community Assessment along with partners from assorted fire agencies. From that assessment, a Three-Year Action Plan will be created, and we can submit documentation to the National Fire Protection Association along with records of our efforts at reducing fuels, hardening our homes, and establishing evacuation protocols. Look for some community educational events, along with some community “clean-up” events, next spring and summer. We will be working at establishing a Facebook page, and will keep you all appraised via email about our progress. Meanwhile, if you are making ANY efforts at creating a more defensible property, please keep track of your hours, and even take pictures. We will be documenting those going forward. THANK YOU RYAN!

I will be putting flyers and further information at the Post Office and the Store. Please pick up your copies and start getting ready to create a safer, more fire-resistant Sierraville! Call with questions: 530 320 5711. Finally, if you know any Sierravillians who are NOT on this email list, please provide me with their information. Mike Blide


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