About the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is a public benefit, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation  formed in 1998 by citizens concerned about the very high potential for catastrophic wildfire in our communities and adjacent forestland. 

The purpose of the Fire Safe Council is to work to reduce the risk of life and property loss from wildfire.  We actively seek public and private funding to provide a wide range of landowner assistance programs, services and community fuels reduction projects in order to reduce the fire danger for all Nevada County residents.  We utilize national and local public education programs to increase public awareness of the high potential for fire devastation, and deliver clear and accurate information to help the public prepare for the next wildfire event. 

The Fire Safe Council operates with a small staff and an all volunteer Board of Directors consisting of residents representing various segments of the community with a vested interest in fire prevention.  Fire Safe Council board meetings are open to the public, and are conducted in accordance with the California Open Meetings Law.  Meetings are generally held the fourth Thursday of each month either in Nevada City or the Town of Truckee with videoconferencing between the locations.  For current meetings and events information, visit our FSCNC Organization page.  Meeting agendas, meeting minutes, annual reports and audit reports are available for you to download.

What We Do

Fire Safe Council programs have been developed to educate, communicate and promote action to respond to the wildfire hazard in Nevada County.

Landowner Assistance Programs

Chipping – The council provides a drive-by chipping service to assist residents in disposing of vegetation from creating and maintaining defensible space around their homes and evacuation routes.  The program operates on a year-round basis, rotating into various areas of the county.  Download the chipping form for complete information on how to stack piles, diameter limits and items that cannot be chipped.  A suggested donation of $50 per service hour is requested to keep the program operating with limited grant funds.

Defensible Space Advisory Visit – Make your time and money count!  Get specific on-site advice about how to create effective defensible space around your home.  A trained volunteer will visit you and walk the property to answer questions, make recommendations and provide information about burn permits, local contractors, and grant sources for landscape clearing.

Community Green Waste Drops – This program is designed to assist landowners with large volumes of vegetative material to be disposed of.  Our chipping program requirements are often too labor intensive for large amounts of green waste to be stacked along a roadway.  The green waste drop provides an alternative solution.  Strategic locations are identified throughout the county where local community partners will assist in monitoring the green waste drop site.  The sites are typically open for a month allowing landowners more time to remove hazardous vegetation from their property.  The material is ground and taken to a regional co-generation facility for making electricity.

Special Needs Assistance Program – This program provides no-cost defensible space clearing and maintenance to low-income seniors or disabled persons.  While the waiting list may be long at times, you cannot get help unless you apply and qualify for assistance.  Download the application with the current income guidelines and submit to the council for verification.  Average wait times are between 4-8 months.  Special volunteer crews from community groups such as 4-H may be able to assist if you do not meet the income guidelines or have extenuating circumstances affecting your ability to create defensible space.

Third-Party Verification Service – Homeowner insurance companies in California are now inspecting for compliance with Public Resource Code 4291 (the defensible space law) prior to issuing or renewing policies.  Many, but not all, will accept a third-party verification in order to prove that your home meets the requirements of the law.  This service is available for a $50 donation per visit plus mileage reimbursement from our office in Grass Valley.  The best part about this service is the peace of mind you having knowing that you’ve done all you can to protect your home and family from wildfire.


Firewise Communities

The National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.  FSCNC has assumed the role of helping local communities become Firewise Communities throughout Nevada County; as a result, Nevada County now has five of the sixteen Firewise Communities in California.

Scotch Broom Challenge

The FSCNC developed the Scotch Broom Challenge as a neighborhood fire awareness program focused on eradicating a particularly hazardous and invasive non-native plant.  This program has grown to address many acres of landscape by over twenty neighborhood groups over the past few years.

Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Planning

Through sponsorship of the FSCNC Technical Committee, large segments of the rural landscape have worked to develop neighborhood Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Planning Guides to assist in educating residents about the benefits of early preparation for wildfire response.

Community Wildfire Protection Plan

In cooperation with local fire protection services, local citizen volunteers and Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, the FSCNC developed and now maintains the Nevada County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a county wide assessment and prioritization of wildfire risks to enable countywide consensus on the application of Federal and State  grants for forest fuels reduction to the most critical landscapes in the county.

Community Fuels Reduction Projects

The Fire Safe Council has identified, developed, and with the help of Federal, State and local funding, implemented a number of major landscape treatment Community Fuels Reduction Projects in strategic locations along evacuation routes, as formal fuel breaks, in an effort to reduce and control major wildfires when they occur and threaten our neighborhoods.  This effort has brought millions of dollars into the county to enhance our wildfire preparedness efforts.