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Call for Nominations for the 2016 Fire Safe Awards

GRASS VALLEY, CA.  March 15, 2016.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) is calling for nominations for the 2016 Fire Safe Awards to be given at the 9th Annual Wine & Culinary Adventure event on Friday, May 13, 2016.  The awards program was developed by the board of directors to recognize those dedicated to protecting our community from catastrophic wildfire.  The public is invited to submit nominations for consideration.

There are three recognitions to be given to individuals and groups meeting the criteria set for each award including exemplifying the mission of the FSCNC:  “To provide Firewise education and programs to enhance emergency preparedness for catastrophic wildfire to all citizens in Nevada County in order to reduce the loss of life, property and natural resources and to create Firewise Communities/USA®; to network with other Fire Safe Councils, governmental agencies and foundations for the benefit of the citizens of Nevada County.”

Volunteer of the Year  - Extensive personal commitment and dedication to programs/projects, community fire protection outreach and/or operational support.  Engages in other activities that support the FSCNC in developing partnerships, funding opportunities and/or communicating the fire prevention message.

Firewise Community of the Year - Effective, independent Firewise Committee, assists in educating community on fire safe programs, defensible space, emergency preparedness.  Works annually to retain Firewise certification.  Actively supports the FSCNC and Firewise program by enlisting volunteers, sponsoring a Scotch Broom Challenge and/or community fuels reduction projects.

Fire Safe Partner of the Year - Provides in-kind or direct program funding support and technical expertise to expand the effectiveness and efficiency of the Councils efforts.  Demonstrates leadership by developing community partnerships and expanding community awareness for wildfire mitigation and fire safety.

“Many people in our community come together to make our organization successful.  Our board of directors feels it is important to formally recognize them.” said Fire Safe Council Executive Director, Joanne Drummond.  “We hope others in our community will be inspired to also get involved in addressing the wildfire hazard and preparing for emergencies.”

Nominations are due no later than April 15, 2016 to the council office.  A nomination form may be obtained by visiting the council website at www.areyoufiresafe.com or by phoning (530) 272-1122.  

Community Wildfire Protection Plan Public Meeting 

(Grass Valley, CA, February 22, 2016)   The Fire Safe Council in collaboration with the Tahoe National Forest will host a public meeting to discuss projects developed to help protect communities from wildland fires.  The event will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 6:00pm at the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 950 Maidu Avenue in Nevada City, California. 

The event is designed to introduce new Fire Safe Council planned projects and receive feedback from the public.  A core team of experts has scoped the projects, visited the sites to review the ground conditions and reviewed Geospatial Information Systems to determine the number of homes protected.  These projects are part of a county-wide Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) developed by the Fire Safe Council.

The Tahoe National Forest has been an active partner with the Fire Safe Council by conducting an “all-lands” approach to wildfire mitigation.  By working together, these project footprints complement each other across the checker board pattern of ownership between public and private lands.

The Forest Service will provide an update on environmental compliance and implementation progress of the Western Nevada County Community Defense project.  This project plans to treat over 4,000 acres on the Tahoe National Forest surrounding areas of western Nevada County’s residential development.

There will be formal presentations on the mission and programs of the Fire Safe Council, the purpose of the CWPP, new project maps and an opportunity for residents to ask questions and provide input on the planned projects.

To learn more about how to make your own home more fire safe, visit the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County online at:  www.areyoufiresafe.com or by phoning (530) 272-1122.

GREATER ALTA SIERRA FIREWISE EDUCATION DAY ON SATURDAY

If there was ever a time to be extremely concerned about fire safety in our community, it is this year. We are experiencing a prolonged drought, our vegetation is drier and denser than ever, and we have seen several close calls, including the Lowell Fire in Nevada County.

There is a golden opportunity to learn or affirm if you are truly prepared for a wildfire in our area. 

By attending the Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community education day event this Saturday, October 24th at 11:00am at the Nevada County Consolidated Fire Station #89 located at 11833 Tammy Way, near the Alta Sierra Country Club in Grass Valley.  The general public is invited to attend, not just residents of Alta Sierra.

The Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community, Alta Sierra Property Owner’s Association, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District are partnering to provide a free fire safety education event designed to help you protect yourself, your family and our community.  Come meet your local fire fighters, see the new fire truck for Alta Sierra and learn about what is happening to address wildfire issues.    Also, learn how to properly prepare for emergency evacuation and lower our risk of catastrophic fires.  Don’t wonder – be certain your home is prepared for wildfire and emergency evacuation.  Fall and winter is a wonderful time to work on reducing fuels on your property.  Weather is cooler for working, animals are done nesting their young and the chances of igniting a fire using equipment is lower.  Take this opportunity to understand what needs to be accomplished so you have the time over the coming months to implement your goals.

Guest speakers will discuss topics such as the Nevada County vegetation management ordinance, local strike team deployments, implementing defensible space and the accomplishments of the Firewise Community committee.  The Nevada County Consolidated Mobile Education unit will also open for visitors to enjoy. 

Being a nationally certified Firewise Community/USA® involves creating a community based committee, receiving a community wildfire hazard assessment and developing an action plan for mitigation. Annual community education days are held to keep the community focused on their goals and the latest available science to prevent and mitigation fire hazards.  Firewise Communities are re-certified annually by the National Fire Protection Association based on an annual report of fire mitigation activities. 

If you’re unable to attend the event and would like a Defensible Space Advisor to come to your home to provide an individual assessment of your readiness, contact the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County at www.areyoufiresafe.com or phone (530) 272-1122.

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Guests at the 2014 Firewise Education Day event learn about fire extinguisher maintenance and operation from Zac Witter, with Nevada County Consolidated Fire District. 


KVMRTHE DESIGNATED EMERGENCY RADIO STATION

ARE YOU READY FOR WILDFIRE?

SATURDAY – 8/22/2015 – 8:00AM-12:00PM AT the KVMR Radio Station, Nevada City 

Wildfire in the Sierras – the element of nature we need to learn to live with.  KVMR is the designated emergency radio station in Western Nevada County as it is staffed 24/7 and will break into regular programming to get emergency notifications out to the public.  Are you tuned in?

The public is welcome to meet the following guest speakers in the KVMR Community Room during the live broadcast.  Pick up Prepare for Fire Season Guides, emergency evacuation planning information, Firewise plant guides and sign up for defensible space advice at your home. 

8:00am  Preparing for Wildfire – Joanne Drummond, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

  • Ø Wildfire is the biggest natural hazard that threatens life and property
  • Ø Family evacuation planning
  • Ø The need for air ambulance services
  • Ø Proper house signage for emergency responders
  • Ø Defensible Space – what it is, how to get help
  • Ø Land stewardship of the forest
  • Ø Hardening your structure from ember intrusion

8:30am  Drought & Forests – Dario Davidson, Registered Professional Forester

  • Ø Effect of 4 years of drought on our forests
  • Ø Bark beetle infestations
  • Ø Other forest health issues
  • Ø Proper spacing for tree health and fire prevention

9:00am  Placer County Sheriff, Paul Troxel, and Nevada County OES, Vic Ferrara

  • Ø How are you notified of an evacuation?
  • Ø Lowell Fire evacuations
  • Ø Notification systems (by County) & how to register cell phones
  • Ø Evacuation orders – pre-evacuation and evacuation
  • Ø Animal evacuations

9:30am  Local Fire Departments – Kevin Menet, Captain, Nevada County Consolidated

  • Ø Emergency preparedness and family readiness planning
  • Ø Fire safety inside your home
  • Ø Current fire status report
  • Ø Strike team responses
  • Ø Coordination of strike teams and backfilling for local coverage
  • Ø All-risk management

10:00am  Chris Paulus, Battalion Chief,  Cal Fire

  • Ø Lowell Fire Initial Attack
  • Ø Weather & Conditions – Average July Fire
  • Ø Overloading of Fuels – Land stewardship and forest health
  • Ø Mutual aid dispatch for closest available resource
  • Ø Air attach capabilities
  • Ø Lookout towers effectiveness – need for volunteers

10:30am  Insuring Homes in a High Wildfire Hazard Area – Jeff Dunning, Allstate Insurance

  • Ø Is homeowner’s insurance hard to obtain?
  • Ø What is a preferred rate?
  • Ø What coverage should I have on my policy in a high wildfire hazard area?
  • Ø What is the California Fair Plan?

11:00am  Media and Wildfires  –  Steve Baker, KVMR Station Manager, Pascale Fusshoeller, YubaNet.com  

  • Ø KVMR – THE designated emergency broadcast station, 24 hour staffing
  • Ø YubaNet.com – “Happening Now” & Fire Incident information
  • Ø Break ins for emergencies during routine programming
  • Ø History of communicating emergencies – 49’er Fire, Lowell Fire, etc

11:30am Fire Safe Council of Nevada County – David Hanson, Director FSCNC

  • Ø Non-profit organization, 17 years in business
  • Ø Mission
  • Ø Programs to assist residents
  • Ø Fire break clearing projects
  • Ø Upcoming Fundraiser – Spaghetti Feed at Humpty Dumpty 9-11-2015

PRE-RECORDED  The Fire Tax – Sate Responsibility Fee – Hank Weston, County Supervisor

  • Ø What is the SRA?  (LRA?  FRA?)
  • Ø Whom does the SRA Fee go to?  What does it pay for?
  • Ø Lawsuit Challenge

FREE DEFENSIBLE SPACE ADVISORY TRAINING

GRASS VALLEY, CA.  November 7, 2014.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) is offering a free two day training session for their Defensible Space Advisor Program on November 18 & 19, 2014 from 10am-3pm.  The first day of the session is classroom style learning with various instructors.  No previous experience is necessary and the public is invited to learn more about wildfire safety in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Students will learn about implementing defensible space, vegetation models in our area, wildfire behavior, forest health, Firewise landscaping techniques, homeowner’s insurance issues, emergency notifications, planning for evacuation and establishing Firewise Communities/USA®.

Featured speakers include Jeff Dunning with Allstate Insurance, Stephanie Wagner with UC Master Gardeners, Matt Wallen, Battalion Chief with Cal Fire, and Dennis Cassella, retired Emergency Services. The multi-media presentations include a dramatic short film of the evacuation of the Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire.

The second day of the training session applies the classroom learning in a field environment where instructors will make specific recommendations on how to best mitigate wildfire for defensible space and forest health.

To enroll in the class or request a visit at your home, visit www.areyoufiresafe.com or contact the FSCNC at (530) 272-1122.  

 PG&E Awards Grant to Fire Safe Council

Grass Valley, CA, November 6, 2014.   The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) has received a $50,000 grant from Pacific Gas and Electric to assist in keeping the popular chipping program running through fire season and for defensible space clearing for qualified low-income seniors and disabled residents.

With a very active fire season, PG&E has provided numerous grants throughout the State of California to assist in pro-actively mitigating wildfires during the current drought. 

Fire Safe Council Executive Director, Joanne Drummond, said “We’re proud to continue to partner with PG&E on our programs to help make Nevada County prepare for wildfire.  Their ongoing vegetation management effort to maintain power lines for reliability and wildfire safety is a huge undertaking in our area due to the heavily forested conditions.”

PG&E Vegetation Community Education Program Manager, Lisa Randle, agrees “The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County’s chipping program is a tremendous asset to the community in creating and maintaining defensible space and evacuation routes.  We welcomed the opportunity to assist.”

The chipping program operates year-round, weather pending.  Residents in need of chipping services must submit a Defensible Space Chipping application.  The form is available online at www.areyoufiresafe.com or by calling the Council office at 530-272-1122.  The program rotates throughout Nevada County neighborhoods based on a first-come, first-served basis.  To receive priority chipping service, people may become a Sustaining Member of the Fire Safe Council for service generally within two weeks. The chipping program is available to all Nevada County residents regardless of their ability to pay. The Fire Safe Council suggests a donation of $75 per hour for chipping services received to help ensure the program can continue when grant funding is not available, but a donation is not required to receive service.

The FSCNC also offers a Special Needs Assistance Program that low-income seniors and disabled residents may apply for assistance in creating their defensible space.  Applications are available for downloading online or by contacting their office.  With a tremendous need in the community, the waiting list is typically over a year.   The FSCNC recommends applying for service now for clearance to be implemented next spring.

The FSCNC is a non-profit corporation dependent upon grants, private donations, and community volunteers to exist. The FSCNC offers a wide variety of programs including children’s education, landowner education and assistance programs, the Scotch Broom Challenge, community fuel break projects, Firewise Community certification and services to assist homeowners in understanding, creating and maintaining defensible space around their home and evacuation routes.  For personal service call the FSCNC at (530) 272-1122 or visit them online at:  www.areyoufiresafe.com


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ALLSTATE INSURANCE FOUNDATION SUPPORTS FIREWISE COMMUNITIES

GRASS VALLEY, October 13, 2014.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is pleased to continue their ongoing partnership with the Allstate Insurance Foundation to establish Firewise Communities in Nevada County.  The Allstate Insurance Foundation has generously donated $15,000 in funding to support the council’s program to create nationally recognized Firewise Communities and to assist low-income seniors and physically disabled persons create wildfire defensible space.

“Allstate Insurance is committed to California and we are proud to support the efforts of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.  They are an outstanding organization and truly make a difference in our community,” said Jeff Dunning, local Allstate Insurance agent and director of the Fire Safe Council. 

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is a non-profit local volunteer organization dedicated to making Nevada County safer from catastrophic wildfire through fire prevention education, fire break clearing projects and creating Firewise Communities.  Nevada County now has 12 certified Firewise Communities including:  Lake Wildwood Association, Lake of the Pines Association, Mountain Lakes Estates Homeowners Association, Banner Mountain Homeowners Association, Tahoe-Donner Association, Greater Cement Hill Neighborhood Association, Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community, Golden Oaks Homeowners Association and Rattlesnake Ridge Estates.  There are two more in the process of becoming nationally recognized Firewise Communities.

The Allstate Foundation was established in 1952 and is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate corporation (NYSE:  ALL.)  Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity.  With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities - such as the Firewise Communities program; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment.  Over the last 60 years, the Foundation has contributed nearly $300 million to organizations and projects in communities throughout the nation such as our local Fire Safe Council.

For education and assistance on creating effective defensible space, or to learn more about wildfire behavior and the best available science-based mitigation techniques, please contact the Fire Safe Council at (530) 272-1122 or visit www.areyoufiresafe.com.  To learn more about The Allstate Foundation please visit www.allstatefoundation.org

LOCAL EARNS STATEWIDE  INVASIVE  PLANT  COUNCIL  AWARD

GRASS VALLEY, October 13, 2014.   Joanne Drummond, Executive Director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County was awarded the 2014 Ryan Jones Catalyst Award by the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) for her work organizing the Scotch Broom Challenge.

The award is given each year for creatively spearheading actions or creating partnerships that make exceptional progress in protecting California from invasive plants.  The award is named for Ryan Jones, an incredible artist and youth leader for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, who died much too young.

This year’s winner, Joanne Drummond, has catalyzed an entire community to take on the challenge of ridding Nevada County of Scotch broom, an invasive non-native plant. Scotch broom is extremely flammable and it displaces native vegetation that provides forage and habitat for wildlife.

“We are honored to recognize Ms. Drummond’s work to protect the Sierra community in which she lives,” says Cal-IPC Executive Director Doug Johnson. “Natural resource managers across the state can benefit from her example.”

Through her work educating homeowners about defensible space, Ms. Drummond learned that many residents were planting Scotch broom in their landscaping – in some cases even to screen their propane tanks.  She developed the Scotch Broom Challenge for the community to become aware of the threat that broom poses in the form of a fire hazard around homes and evacuation routes, and in the form of an environmental stress on native vegetation and wildlife.

A main focus of the Challenge is organizing volunteer work efforts to remove Scotch broom populations, in coordination with landowners and community groups. Drummond also worked to limit sale of the plant and to educate the community about better plant choices.

Peter Beesley, the local resident and previous board member for Cal-IPC who nominated Drummond for the award, says, “By engaging the public, including youth groups, private retailers, and public agencies, Joanne’s work on the Scotch Broom Challenge would make Ryan Jones proud.”

The Scotch Broom Challenge program began in 2007 with numerous partners signing on to adopt a site and commit to five years of return visits to address the re-sprouting seed bank.  The Challenge is held each spring to remove plants before they flower and spread more seeds.  Ongoing weed wrench loans are provided year-round to private landowners working to remove and control broom on their property.

The award winner enlisted the California Native Plant Society, UC Master Gardeners, Forest Service Specialists and many other experts who assisted by leaving educational cards at retail locations where Scotch broom was being sold.  The card stated the reasons for the Scotch Broom Challenge and asked them to voluntarily stop selling the plant and to help the public understand Firewise landscaping techniques.  The Fire Safe Council provided alternative Firewise Plant Guides which focus heavily on native species.  The Nevada County Agricultural Commissioner, Jeff Pylman, saw the value of the program and under California Department of Food & Agriculture Code was able to ban the plant for sale as ornamental landscaping throughout Nevada County.

Volunteers are recruited from environmental groups, agencies, service clubs and the general public to assist in removing broom at specific project sites. The Challenge has grown substantially and in 2014 implemented 22 community pulls with over 300 volunteers participating to clear an estimated 30 acres of broom in Nevada and Placer Counties.  Over the seven years of the program, over 1,500 volunteers have participated clearing an estimated 155 acres of infestation.  Neighboring Yuba County has now also taken the Challenge by posting educational flyers and brochures about broom control and removal. 

Cal-IPC's mission is to protect California's lands and waters from ecologically-damaging invasive plants through science, education and policy.  Cal-IPC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 1992 to address one of California's top environmental threats.  They work closely with agencies, industry and other nonprofit organizations. Their active membership includes public and private land managers, ecological consultants and researchers, planners, volunteer stewards, and concerned citizens.  Allied invasive plant councils exist in many other states, though Cal-IPC has the largest membership.

 

For more information on the California Invasive Plant Council and invasive plant species, please visit www.cal-ipc.org or phone (510) 843-3902.

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Joanne Drummond (left) receives the Ryan Jones Catalyst Award from California Invasive

Plant Council’s Board Chairman, Jason Cassanova (right) at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in

Chico on October 9, 2014.




Public Open House Meeting on Potential Local Biomass Energy Facility Sites—

October 22, 2014

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Tahoe National Forest Office, 631 Coyote Street in Nevada City

 A public open house meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 22, to share information about possible locations in the Grass Valley area for a biomass energy facility.  The Nevada County Biomass Task Force, a local group spearheading an effort to find ways to utilize biomass that is produced from fire safe clearing and forest management projects, will host the meeting. The Task Force will provide details on the analysis of possible facility locations that has been completed as part of a total biomass feasibility assessment process. The assessment is being completed by TSS Consultants, a Sacramento company with extensive experience in biomass feedstocks, conversion technology, facility siting and planning and project implementation.

The public open house meeting will be held at the Tahoe National Forest Office at 631 Coyote Street in Nevada City from 5 to 7 PM.  The meeting will begin with a presentation summarizing the biomass feasibility assessment process and providing an overview of the analysis of potential biomass energy facility locations. The presentation will be followed by a short question and answer period and then an open house format with displays related to each of the five sites that will be considered for further analysis in the feasibility assessment process. There will also be detailed information available about biomass energy facility operation. This will include site requirements, hours of operation, noise, air emissions and truck traffic. Displays will be available to show specific locations, typical biomass facility appearance and biomass energy technology.

A total of 22 sites were considered for possible facility locations. Based on a number of site criteria and attributes, the list of sites was narrowed to five that seem most feasible.  Two of the sites are near the Rare Earth landscaping materials business on La Barr Meadows Road in Grass Valley. The remaining sites are on Centennial Street near the Peaceful Valley business, near the end of Charles Drive in the Loma Rica/airport area and in Penn Valley along Highway 20, just west of the junction with Rough and Ready Highway.  All five sites are currently zoned for industrial use or planned for such zoning.

“The Task Force has been working on this biomass issue for 5 years, looking at a variety of ideas and technologies to address the issue of overly dense forests and increasing fire hazard in the local community.  We all recognize the need to deal with these problems in a cost effective manner.  Not only would a bioenergy facility do that, but it would reduce air emissions, increase local employment and generate renewable energy,” stated Steve Eubanks, member of the Biomass Task Force.

A bioenergy facility would use the highly flammable forest undergrowth and chipped forest debris to produce electricity.   To determine the feasibility of building such a facility in the local area, The Nevada County Biomass Task Force has contracted the completion of a detailed biomass feasibility assessment that will determine the amount of biomass that is available in the area on a sustainable basis, the type of biomass technology that is best suited to utilize the type and amount of biomass available, most feasible sites for locating the recommended technology, and overall economics of operating a local facility. The feasibility assessment is slated for completion in mid-November. It is important to note that the assessment will not make decisions about constructing a facility or facility locations. The assessment will simply be used to demonstrate feasibility to potential developers who, if interested, will be required to do appropriate follow up with permit applications and environmental studies.

Funding for completion of the feasibility assessment was received from the U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest; the National Forest Foundation—an organization founded by Congress in 1991 to help conserve, restore and enhance America’s 193-million acre national forest system; the Sierra Nevada Conservancy; and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District. The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is serving as the task force’s fiscal agent.

Additional information about the feasibility assessment and bioenergy is available on the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County’s website,

http://www.areyoufiresafe.com/resources/biomass-resources

For more information about this news release, contact Steve Eubanks (530-432-9821) or Joanne Drummond, Executive Director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (530-272-1122.)

#  #  #

FREE DEFENSIBLE SPACE ADVISORY TRAINING

GRASS VALLEY, CA.  March 14, 2013.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) is offering a free two day training session for their Defensible Space Advisor Program on April 2 & 3, 2014 from 10am-3pm.  The first day of the session is classroom style learning with various instructors.  No previous experience is necessary and the public is invited to learn more about fire safety in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Students will learn about implementing defensible space, vegetation models in our area, wildfire behavior, forest health, Firewise landscaping techniques, homeowner’s insurance issues, emergency notifications, planning for evacuation and establishing Firewise Communities/USA®.

Featured speakers include Jeff Dunning with Allstate Insurance, Stephanie Wagner with UC Master Gardeners, David Ray, retired Fire Chief, and Dennis Cassella, retired Emergency Services. The multi-media presentations include a dramatic short film of the evacuation of the Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire.

The second day of the training session applies the classroom learning in a field environment where instructors will make specific recommendations on how to best mitigate wildfire for defensible space and forest health.

To enroll in the class or request a visit at your home, visit www.areyoufiresafe.com or contact the FSCNC at (530) 272-1122.  

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ALLSTATE INSURANCE FOUNDATION SUPPORTS

FIRE SAFE COUNCIL

GRASS VALLEY, October 21, 2013.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is pleased to report their ongoing partnership with the Allstate Insurance Foundation to establish Firewise Communities in Nevada County continues.  The Allstate Insurance Foundation has generously donated $10,000 in funding to support the council’s program to create nationally recognized Firewise Communities and to assist low-income seniors and physically disabled persons create wildfire defensible space.

“Allstate Insurance is committed to California and we are proud to support the efforts of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.  They are an outstanding organization and truly making a difference in our community,” said Jeff Dunning, local Allstate Insurance agent and director of the Fire Safe Council. 

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is a non-profit local volunteer organization dedicated to making Nevada County safer from catastrophic wildfire through fire prevention education, fire break clearing projects and creating Firewise Communities.  Nevada County now has nine certified Firewise Communities including:  Lake Wildwood Association, Lake of the Pines Association, Mountain Lakes Estates Homeowners Association, Banner Mountain Homeowners Association, Tahoe-Donner Association, Greater Cement Hill Neighborhood Association, Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community, Golden Oaks Homeowners Association and Rattlesnake Ridge Estates.  There are two more in the process of becoming nationally recognized Firewise Communities.

The Allstate Foundation was established in 1952 and is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate corporation (NYSE:  ALL.)  Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity.  With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment.  Over the last 60 years, the Foundation has contributed nearly $300 million to organizations and projects in communities throughout the nation such as our local Fire Safe Council.

For education and assistance on creating effective defensible space, or to learn more about wildfire behavior please contact the FSCNC at (530) 272-1122 or visit www.areyoufiresafe.com.  To learn more about The Allstate Foundation please visit www.allstatefoundation.org

Fire Safe Council of Nevada County Elects New Directors

Grass Valley, December 4, 2012.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) has seated a new board of directors to assist in their goal of reducing the risk of life, property and natural resources to wildfire. All directors are committed to a successful council that will implement defensible space programs and community projects that benefit the residents of Nevada County.

The FSCNC is a non-profit, local volunteer organization dedicated to making Nevada County safe from catastrophic wildfire. The FSCNC provides onsite home education on how to create defensible space, community outreach, formal fuel break projects, a chipping program and other services to assist homeowners in understanding and creating defensible space around their home.  A Special Needs Assistance Program helps low-income seniors and/or disabled citizens clear defensible space free of charge.

The board welcomes Tina Costella a Botanist/Biologist to the board as a new director. Vic Ferrera, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services was elected as chairman; David Hanson, Nevada County Consolidated Fire Department was elected as Vice-Chair; Rick Nolle, Broker with Network Real Estate, remained Treasurer and Dennis Cassella, Retired Director of Emergency Services for Nevada County was elected Secretary.

New Term Directors are: Tina Costella, Botanist/Biologist; Dennis Cassella Retired Director of Emergency Services for Nevada County; Gene Vander Plaats, Fire Chief’s Association; Bill Houdyschell, Tahoe-Donner Association; Ryan Murano, Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District; Dave Stonum, Cal Fire and Rand Smith, PG&E.

Other Fire Safe Council Board Directors include: Bill Drown, Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council; Jeff Dunning, Allstate Insurance; Vic Ferrera, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services; David Hanson, Nevada County Consolidated Fire Department; Warren Knox, Greater Champion Neighborhood Association; Rob Paulus, Retired CAL Fire; Hank Weston, County Supervisor with Ted Owens, County Supervisor as his alternate. Brian Mulhollen, Bureau of Land Management serves as an Associate Director.

The FSCNC is a non-profit, local volunteer organization dedicated to making Nevada County safe from catastrophic wildfire.

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GREATER ALTA SIERRA COMMUNITY RECEIVES NATIONAL FIREWISE AWARD

(GRASS VALLEY, November 12, 2012)  The Greater Alta Sierra Community has been recognized as a Firewise Communities/USA® site by the National Fire Protection Association for their efforts to reduce the vulnerability of homes and landscape to wildfire.  The award will be presented this Saturday, November 17th at 12:00pm at the Alta Sierra Pizza & Grill’s lower parking area located at the corner of Highway 49 and Alta Sierra Drive.  In the event of rain, the celebration will be conducted at fire station 88, located at Highway 49 and LaBarr Meadows Road.

The public is invited to attend the festive occasion which will include the children’s education trailer from Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, appearances by Smokey Bear, demonstrations on the proper use of a fire extinguisher and information on how to prepare your home and family for emergencies including wildfire.  Free drawings will be held throughout the event for haircuts from The Clip Shop, Fire Safe t-shirts and Smokey Bear items.

 “The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is proud to have partnered with the Greater Alta Sierra community with education and programs to help them earn this prestigious recognition of their efforts to create a more fire safe environment”, said Fire Safe Council Executive Director, Joanne Drummond.  “We encourage all communities in Nevada County to become more fire safe through a collaborative community effort.”

Award presentation guest speakers include Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief, David Ray, Nevada County Supervisor Ed Scofield, Alta Sierra Property Owners Vice President Lee French and Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community Chairman Peter Beesley.

The Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community has also been working on the ground to mitigate wildfire.  This spring, two projects helped reduce the wildfire hazard with a third being implemented currently.  The first two projects were conducted on the Adam Ryan Preserve owned by the Bear Yuba Land Trust at the corner of Alta Sierra Drive and Dog Bar Road.  The Bureau of Land Management is now working on reducing hazardous wildfire fuels on their property behind homes on George Way.  The Firewise Community Wildfire Hazard Assessment was instrumental in focusing these efforts.  To view the assessment and community action plan visit:  http://www.areyoufiresafe.com/get-involved/firewise-communities/alta-sierra-firewise-community/

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Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Committee Chairman, Peter Beesley (right), leads volunteers in removing Scotch Broom on the Adam Ryan Preserve at the corner of Alta Sierra Drive and Dog Bar Roads last spring.

Fire Safe Council of Nevada County to Bolster

Fire Prevention Efforts with FM Global Grant

GRASS VALLEY, Calif.—The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County has received a $3,000 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers.

FM Global representatives presented the award to Executive Director, Joanne Drummond at the Nevada County Fair located on McCourtney Road in Grass Valley.   The award will be used to assist with fire prevention activities in the community to help educate the community and reduce the number of fires.

Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 35 years FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of California-based organizations

 “At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, manager of the fire prevention grant program. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be. With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”

Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, FM Global awards grants quarterly to fire departments—as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide—that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire, or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause.

To learn more about FM Global’s Fire Prevention Grant Program, or to apply for a grant, please visit www.fmglobal.com/grants.

For more than 175 years, many of the world’s largest organizations have turned to FM Global to develop cost-effective property insurance and engineering solutions to protect their business operations from fire, natural disasters and other types of property risk. With clients in more than 130 countries, FM Global ranks #572 among FORTUNE magazine’s largest companies in America and is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best and AA (Very Strong) by Fitch Ratings. The company has been named “Best Property Insurer in the World” by Euromoney magazine, “Best Global Property Insurer” by Global Finance magazine and was voted “Best Commercial Property Insurer” in Business Insurance’s 2010 annual Readers Choice Awards.

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Jose Chavez (left) with FM Global presents the grant award to Joanne Drummond (right), Executive Director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County at the Nevada County Fair.


AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region Class XVIII honors

Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

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(Grass Valley, CA, August 15, 2012)  The AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region Class XVIII recently honored the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County as their Sponsor of the Year at their graduation ceremony in Sacramento, California. 

The AmeriCorps NCCC team provided assistance to the council in various fire prevention and environmental programs such as the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP), the Scotch Broom Challenge, and Firewise Communities of Nevada County.  Project sponsors provide the team lodging, meals, training, technical supervision and support crew moral.  The Fire Safe Council was nominated by the teams they hosted and were selected from over 140 other project sponsors in the Pacific Region to receive the honor.

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“We are grateful to the AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region for their partnership to meet our mission to prevent catastrophic wildfire in our community and work hard to be a good host to the team.” said Fire Safe Council Executive Director, Joanne Drummond.  “Receiving the honor of being selected as Sponsor of the Year is humbling.”

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program.  During their 10-month term, Corps Members – all 18 to 24 years old – work on projects that address critical needs related to natural and other disasters (such as wildfire), infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Members work on a series of different projects ranging from mentoring students, construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, wildfire mitigation, cleaning up streams, and address countless other local needs. The Pacific Region campus in Sacramento is one of five regional hubs in the United States and serves ten states in the western part of the country.    For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at www.americorps.gov/nccc.

For more information on how to prepare for emergencies and wildfire, visit the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County’s website at  www.areyoufiresafe.com or phone (530) 272-1122.

Fire Safe Council Announces Award Recipients

GRASS VALLEY, CA.  May 30, 2011.  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC) is giving three awards during their 5th Annual Wine & Culinary Adventure event on June 29th to recognize those dedicated to protecting our community from catastrophic wildfire. The mission of the FSCNC is: To provide Firewise education and programs to enhance emergency preparedness for catastrophic wildfire to all citizens in Nevada County in order to reduce the loss of life, property and natural resources and to promote Firewise Communities; to network with other Fire Safe Councils, Firewise Communities, governmental agencies and foundations for the benefit of the citizens of Nevada County.

Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief Tim Fike is being recognized as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year. The Volunteer of the year recipient must exemplify the mission of the FSCNC with extensive personal commitment and dedication to programs/projects, community fire protection outreach and/or operational support.  Engage in other activities that support the FSCNC in developing partnerships, funding opportunities and/or communicating the fire awareness message. “Tim tirelessly promotes Fire Safe Council services with the community and helped develop Firewise Communities.  He helped to train volunteer advisors to educate homeowners on effective defensible space.  His dedication to the council is above and beyond the call of duty and worthy of recognition.” said UC Master Gardener and Fire Safe Advisor Lynn Lorenson.

Banner Mountain Homeowners’ Association is being recognized as the 2012 Firewise Community of the Year. The Firewise Community of the Year must exemplify the mission of the FSCNC, have an effective, independent Firewise Committee, and assist in educating their community on fire safe programs, defensible space, and emergency preparedness.  They must work and file an annual report to retain the coveted national Firewise designation.  Firewise Communities must actively support the FSCNC and Firewise program by enlisting volunteers, sponsoring a Scotch Broom Challenge site and/or complete community fuels reduction projects. “The Banner Mountain Homeowners have done an exceptional job in making their community more fire safe.  From live fire demonstrations at their events, to having volunteer advisors trained to help neighbors – they are a model for other communities looking to become Firewise.  The individuals in their community have made the difference,” said Battalion Chief David Ray of Nevada County Consolidated Fire District.

AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region is being honored as the 2012 Fire Safe Partner of the Year. The Fire Safe Partner of the Year must exemplify the mission of the FSCNC, provide in-kind or direct program funding support and technical expertise to expand the effectiveness and efficiency of the Councils efforts.  Demonstrate leadership by developing community partnerships and expanding community awareness for wildfire mitigation and fire safety. “AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region has provided work crews at no cost to the council to help create defensible space for low income seniors and disabled, implement fuel break projects and assist with burning.  The support they have provided over the past year has been invaluable due to the lack of grants available to meet the mission of the council.” said Helene Hall, Fire Safe Council volunteer and member of the BMHOA.

For more information about the Fire Safe Council or Wine & Culinary Adventure where the awards will be given, visit the FSCNC web site at www.areyoufiresafe.com or call (530) 272-1122. 

FIRE PREVENTION AT ALTA SIERRA WILDLIFE PRESERVE

May 31, 2012   Grass Valley, CA - Years of fire suppression on forested lands has created a perfect storm in many of our communities and all that is needed to set it off is a spark. To help prevent a catastrophic wildfire in Alta Sierra the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC), The Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community (GAS FWC) and AmeriCorps NCCC have teamed up with Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) to improve their 40 acre Adam Ryan Wildlife Preserve. The Preserve, located at the intersection of Dog Bar Rd. and Alta Sierra Dr., is home to the Alan Thiesen Trail which is a 1 mile loop trail open to the public.

               One June 11 & 12 FSCNC, GAS FWC, and AmeriCorps will lead workdays which will focus on removing dead and dying trees from near the roadsides, pulling scotch broom, thinning ladder fuels and maintaining the trail. To ensure the safety of the public the trail will be closed for these two days. These efforts are all part of the plan to reduce the fire hazard for the preserve and the greater community.   

Visit www.bylt.org and www.areyoufiresafe.com for more information.

COMMON ENEMY BRINGS COMMUNITY TOGETHER

(Grass Valley, CA)  March 6, 2012. Once again, the community has come together to answer the Scotch Broom Challenge issued by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC.)  The Scotch Broom Challenge was created in 2007 to address the spread of this highly flammable and invasive plant in our community. The Scotch Broom Challenge started with just a few sites in Nevada County. In the spring of 2011 over 250 volunteers took the Scotch Broom Challenge and pulled broom at 17 sites throughout Nevada County and Placer County. The goals of the Challenge are to educate the community about this hazardous vegetation in order to control the rapid spread in our county and reduce the fire hazard, provide landowner assistance and implement removal sites. The 2012 Scotch Broom Challenge kicked off last weekend with sites at Champion Mine Rd in Nevada City hosted by Greater Champion Mine Neighborhood and Burton House in Nevada City hosted by Bear Yuba Land Trust.

Leading the Community Effort is the Fire Safe Council. Joanne Drummond, Executive Director of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County sees the enthusiasm built over the past five years, “Terming this a ‘challenge’ is fitting. Scotch broom’s invasive qualities are evident and highly visible throughout Nevada County. It is exciting to be a part of a massive removal movement with so many individuals and community groups returning to help make Nevada County more Fire Safe!” 

Scotch Broom banned in Nevada County In response to the Challenge, Nevada County Agricultural Commissioner, Jeffrey Pylman, issued a letter prohibiting the importation, propagation and sale of broom varieties as ornamental landscaping in Nevada County.

2012 Scotch Broom Challenge Project Sites – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

March 10 - Tyler Foote Rd in North San Juan, hosted by NSJ Fire

March 10 - North Star Mine House in Grass Valley, hosted by Bear Yuba Land Trust

March 10 - Hell’s Half Acre in Grass Valley, hosted by Red Bud Chapter California Native Plant Society

March 17 - Oak Tree Park in North San Juan, hosted by Oak Tree Park District

March 24 - Wolf Creek @ Wolf Rd in Grass Valley, hosted by Wolf Creek Community Alliance

March 24 - Woodpecker on Banner Mountain in Nevada City, hosted by Bear Yuba Land Trust

April 14 - Hirschman Pond in Nevada City, hosted by Bear Yuba Land Trust

April 21 - Gracie Rd & Banner Lava Cap Rd in Nevada City, hosted by Banner Mountain HOA

April 22 - Canyon View Preserve in Auburn, hosted by Placer Land Trust

April 28 - Alan Thiesen in Alta Sierra, hosted by Bear Yuba Land Trust

April 28 - Sugarloaf in Nevada City, hosted by Sierra Nevada Group of The Sierra Club

April 28 & 29 - Scotch Broom workshop, at the Home & Garden Show. Learn how to effective control broom on your property.

Volunteer participants will learn how to identify broom varieties, effective control techniques and proper use of loppers and weed wrenches. To join the Scotch Broom Challenge or for more information on the projects, please contact the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County at (530) 272-1122 or online at www.areyoufiresafe.com.

Funding for Fire Safe Chipping Program

(GRASS VALLEY, California, January 30, 2012)  The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County recently received a $20,000 grant award from the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.  The grant will be used to fund the popular Defensible Space Chipping Program.

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County has been struggling to keep their chipping program operational with memberships and donations.  The council continually applies for grants to provide landowner assistance programs to Nevada County residents to make the community safer from wildfire.

Council Executive Director, Joanne Drummond, said “We’re proud to partner with the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District on our chipping program.  Their efforts to reduce vehicle trips to the transfer station while avoiding smoke emissions is ongoing. The opportunity to burn vegetative material is extremely limited, whereas the chipping program operates year-round, weather permitting. Providing funding for the chipping program meets multiple goals in the community.”

Residents in need of chipping services must submit a Defensible Space Chipping form.  The form is available online at www.areyoufiresafe.com or by calling the Council office at 530-272-1122.  The program rotates throughout Nevada County neighborhoods based on a first-come, first-served basis.  To receive priority chipping service, people may become a Sustaining Member of the Fire Safe Council for service, generally within two weeks. The chipping program is available to all Nevada County residents regardless of their ability to pay. The Fire Safe Council suggest a donation of $50 per  hour for chipping services received to help ensure the program can continue when grant funding is not available. 

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County is a non-profit corporation dependent upon grants, private donations, and community volunteers to exist. In addition to the chipping program the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County also provides defensible space clearing for low-income seniors and the disabled, landowner education and assistance programs, the Scotch Broom Challenge, and community fuel break projects.

To find out more about the program, visit the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County’s web site at www.areyoufiresafe.com or phone them at (530) 272-1122.

News & Events Archives – 2011