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.