The Board of Supervisors approved a proclamation April 18 making May Wildfire Awareness Month. Front row from left, Plumas National Forest Fire Chief Ryan Bauer, Office of Emergency Services and Plumas County Sheriff’s Office deputy Nick Dawson, Sheriff Greg Hagwood, and OES representative Sue McCourt. In the center from left are CalFire Lassen Modoc Unit Chief Scott Packwood and Leah Sandburg, CalFire LMU fire prevention specialist. Back row from left, Supervisor Jeff Engel, Supervisor Michael Sanchez, Supervisor Lori Simpson and Supervisor Sherrie Thrall. Photos by Victoria Metcalf

It’s Wildfire Awareness Month in May

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood kicked things off concerning Wildfire Awareness Month in May before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on April 18. Those who addressed supervisors included Sue McCourt from OES, Ryan Bauer from PNF, Scott Packwood from CalFire and Nick Dawson from OES and the sheriff’s office.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in Plumas County.

With evidence of last year’s Camp Fire still up front and center, people are more concerned about wildfire in their own neighbors than ever before.

The Camp Fire started Nov. 8 in the Pulga area and quickly spread burning structures, businesses, schools and a hospital before it was finally contained. The fire also killed 86 people.

“We really appreciate your support,” Sue McCourt, Plumas County Office of Emergency Services (OES), told supervisors on Tuesday, April 18.

And residents of Plumas County are showing an interest and their support in producing firewise plans for their communities. Quite a few new fire preparedness groups are organizing, McCourt told supervisors.

Three communities also captured grant funding made available by the state, she noted.

Acting Fire Chief for the Plumas National Forest Ryan Bauer also addressed the board of supervisors. “I grew up in Plumas County,” he said. “Living here we all know that we need to be aware of fire every day.”

“As an incident commander I know I need to bring our sons and daughters home everyday,” Bauer said about creating safer forests and lessening the danger for firefighters and residents.

Bauer said that the vast majority of wildfires are human caused. As with the Camp Fire the source was pinned down to powerlines in the Pulga area.

Bauer went on to say that 95 percent of the fires that start are managed with the initial attack phase.

But even with that statistic it takes communities and homeowners to manage defensible space to help prevent the spread of wildfire.  “We need to work together,” Bauer said. That lesson came through loud and clear during the recent Camp Fire.

Scott Packwood, CalFire Lassen Modoc Unit chief said that his agency doesn’t have a strong presence in Plumas County. The Plumas National Forest is the major fire resource. He said that a lot is now going on to reduce fire danger, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket and a lot still needs to be done.

Nick Dawson, who heads up OES through the sheriff’s office, read a proclamation in support of Wildfire Awareness Month in May.

Proclamation by OES representative Nick Dawson before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors

Whereas, uncontrolled wildfire can have significant impacts on Plumas County’s environmental, economic and social well-being; and

Whereas, a large percent of wildfire in California are caused by people, therefore, the community plays a critical role in preventing wildfires; and

Whereas, residents of Plumas County’s fire-prone communities need to take action now and become “Firewise” to reduce the wildfire threat and prepare their homes, families and community for wildfire; and

Whereas, residents must know what to do before, during, and after a wildfire (Ready, Set Go!) by having Wildfire Evacuation and Family Communication Plans in place; and

Whereas, to promote fire safe practices within Plumas County, the Plumas County Board of Supervisor’s hereby declares the month of May, 2019 as Wildfire Awareness Month throughout this county, and we urge all residents and visitors to take measures to prevent the occurrence and spread of wildfire.

From left are Plumas National Forest Engine 323 Tommy Brenzovich; Jess Steffon, PNF; Sue McCourt, Plumas County Office of Emergency Services (OES); Samuel Collinson, PNF; Supervisor Michael Sanchez; Ryan Bauer, PNF Chief 1; Scott Packwood, CAL FIRE LMU Unit Chief; John Sea, Plumas Eureka Fire Chief; Sheriff Greg Hagwood, PCSO; Nick Dawson, PCSO/OES; Robbie Cassou, Quincy Fire Chief; Todd Roberts, PCSO; Lucas McMath; Hannah Hepner, Plumas Fire Safe Council; Matt West, Plumas Firesafe Council; Supervisor Jeff Engel; Carson Wingfield, PCSO; CalFire Westwood Engine 2272, Gary Lane; James Allen; Leah Sandburg, CalFire LMU Fire Prevention Specialist.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor about this post that will be published in our newspaper.