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Graeagle Fire Protection District Firewise Community's recent Firewise Demonstration/Work Day held in Valley Ranch on June 22 where participants discuss fire safe practices and demonstrate how to improve fire resiliency. Photo submitted

Plumas County Fire Safe Council plans July meeting

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about Firewise Communities and their activities. So, what is a Firewise Community?

The Firewise Communities USA program is a nationwide initiative designed to encourage and acknowledge community action that minimizes home loss to wildfire. It is an effort to provide an effective management approach while preserving the beauty of these wildland areas. Its focus is on communities, such as ours, that exist in the midst of, or in close proximity to, areas that can be characterized as “wild” and undeveloped, typically containing large amounts of natural fuels such as trees, brush or heavy grass.

In order to promote and assist local involvement in wildfire preparedness goals, the Firewise Communities USA program recognizes communities for working together to protect their residents and property from fire in the wildland/urban interface (WUI). To be recognized as a Firewise Communities USA site, local communities must create and implement a local plan with cooperative assistance from state forestry agencies and local fire staff. In addition, these communities are required to continue regular maintenance and education to retain their status as a Firewise Community.

The Graeagle Fire Protection District Firewise Community was established in 2010 and was the first Firewise Community in Plumas County. Currently there are 15 Firewise Communities within Plumas County and another 10 in the process of becoming Firewise Communities.

The GFPD Firewise Community encompasses the entire Graeagle Fire Protection District and has active committees in the communities of Whitehawk, Valley Ranch, Mohawk Meadows, Graeagle and most recently Sierra Estates.

In 2018, the Graeagle Fire Protection District Firewise Community initiated the Mohawk Valley Hazardous Fuels Reduction (HFR) Project. This project is a collaboration between the Plumas County Fire Safe Council and communities and landowners within the Firewise Communities of Graeagle Fire Protection District, Smith Creek Ranch and Clio. The HFR projects are designed to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and create fire resilient stands by treating surface fuels to: 1) generate flame lengths of less than 2 to 4 feet, and 2) break up the continuity of ladder and canopy fuels to prevent the initiation or sustaining of crown fires.

If you are interested in learning more about this or other projects offered by the Plumas County Fire Safe Council, be sure to attend the upcoming Plumas County Fire Safe Council meeting Thursday, July 11, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Plumas County Planning & Building Services office, 555 Main St. in Quincy.

As a part of their continuous education goals, the Graeagle Fire Protection District Firewise Community will be holding a Firewise Demonstration/Work Day on Saturday, July 13, at 7 Mohave Trail in Graeagle, from 8 to 11 a.m., to discuss fire safe practices and show participants how to improve the fire resiliency of their property by proper horizontal and vertical spacing of shrubs and trees and removal of tall dry grasses. After this short discussion, participants will perform work on a number of properties within Graeagle. The goal of this work is to help interested participants understand how to put these principles into practice making our community as a whole more fire resilient.

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