Jessica Cejnar / Friday, July 17, 2020 @ 3:51 p.m. / Community, Emergencies, Fire
Public Comment Sought on Del Norte Wildfire Protection Plan
The local firesafe council is seeking public input on the draft of a plan identifying the Del Norte County areas most at risk of a wildfire, critical assets within those areas as well as potential resources available.
Del Norte County’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan hasn’t been updated since 2005, according to county Emergency Services Manager Kymmie Scott. The public is asked to review the updated draft and comment by Aug. 1.
Starting with a community outreach event at Home Depot last year, the Del Norte County FireSafe Council conducted a series of community meetings throughout the county to develop its draft plan. Once finished, the FireSafe Council will work with local fire departments to develop strategies to address wildfire risk, said Project Manager Beverly O’Dea, owner of Bridgeview Consulting.
Many of these strategies can be funded through federal and state grants, she said, adding that local fire personnel and U.S. Forest Service representatives were involved in creating the plan. Once it’s finished, the Community Wildfire Protection Plan will go to CalFire for approval, O’Dea said.
“It’s very community-oriented, and the project are identified through the fire department’s work with everybody,”she said. “They develop those projects and then as a FireWise Council, they then help prioritize those efforts dealing with the highest risk, where wildfire mitigation has occurred previously, it’s kind of all encompassing.”
Grant dollars can provide hand tools and chippers that communities can borrow from the Council to protect their areas from wildfire, O’Dea said.
The plan identifies critical facilities in each community that could pose a potential hazard or are needed to “ensure our continuity of government,” O’Dea said. These include religious facilities, hospitals and nursing homes.
The plan also discusses defensible space.
“One of the priority goals of this plan is to document the various elements that make up defensible space and to do so in clear action-oriented terms,” the plan states. “The plan also lists various additional ways that a community can enhance its chances of surviving a fire, including the use of fire ignition-resistant building materials and construction, water availability, escape plans, landscaping and fuel hazard reduction.”
Del Norte residents can review the document by visiting Prepare Del Norte.