Forest Fire Prevention – Let the People Decide – YubaNet

Nearly two years ago, in the early hours of a Monday morning in August, the Jones Fire broke out in the South Yuba River Canyon just outside Nevada City. Burning through steep, heavily treed terrain, the blaze spread across 550 acres the following day, prompting the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, triggering air quality advisories and leading to the destruction of the trail of Independence. Scarier still, he was about to threaten Nevada City itself.

Heidi Hall is the District 1 Supervisor for Nevada County, which includes Nevada City and the unincorporated areas of Banner Mountain, Cascade Shores, Deer Creek and the Highway 174 corridor.

Can you imagine the lives that could be lost if a wildfire raged in Nevada City, Grass Valley or Truckee? Can you imagine losing Nevada City’s iconic National Hotel, California’s oldest hotel, our historic fire station, or our beautiful Victorian homes to a wildfire like the Camp or Dixie Fires? And while I love our historic downtown, I love our forests and rivers just as much.

This is why I am inclined to support the implementation of the proposed measure “Forest fire prevention, emergency services and disaster preparedness” on November 8e General election ballot paper. We need a locally controlled source of funding that can be used immediately to save lives, reduce the threat of wildfire, and improve evacuation safety.

This proposed measure would be funded by a ½ cent sales tax, which would raise $12,000,000 per year. It’s our money; the state cannot remove it. It’s a sales tax, not a package tax. This means that visitors and tourists participate, so the entire burden is not on the owners.

I love the natural beauty of the Deer Creek watershed, but the truth is, the overgrown vegetation poses a serious threat to Nevada City and Grass Valley. Deer Creek runs from Scott’s Flat Lake in Nevada City, through Grass Valley and to Wildwood Lake in Penn Valley, through parts of the same fire footprint as the 1988 49er and 2017 Lobo Fire. fire here would threaten hundreds of county and city residents. Deer Creek needs a shaded fuel break along its entire length.

Almost all of us live in what our fire officials call the Wilderness Urban Interface (WUI), with 92% of residents living in high or very high fire risk areas, including the entire city of Nevada and most of Grass Valley and Truckee. Like many of you, my husband and I have worked frantically to create defensible space around our home. Not only is it hard work, but it’s also expensive and a multi-year process to get where we need to be. This measure would fund a green waste disposal site free of charge all year round.

Vegetation management projects that would protect our homes and cities and provide critical escape routes are not only expensive, but require ongoing maintenance. How can we afford to create safer escape routes, clear dangerous vegetation along public and private roads, and support our Firewise volunteer communities? How can we stay competitive for large-scale fuel reduction grants – which we need but require local matching – and maintain a safety net for our frontline first responders? How can we afford not do this work? These are the urgent needs that we have heard about and that you continue to hear about. Our residents deserve a local government that listens and listens to their needs.

One solution would be to combine local funding with state and federal funds to get the job done. It’s time for a county-wide approach to reducing the wildfire threat.

Oversight, accountability and transparency are essential for any government expenditure, but especially for a general sales tax. If passed, the measure will have a citizens’ oversight committee with council-appointed community volunteers who will carry out regular audits and report their findings to the public. It will have a technical advisory committee made up of professional members who represent our first responders, fire and law enforcement agencies, urban and rural residents, and community and non-profit leaders.

The proposed measure is the result of a conversation that has been going on since 2017, and more vigorously since 2020. Over the past few years, we have seen wildfires, bouts of extreme heat, and prolonged drought. Last year’s winter snowstorm left the majority of Nevada County without power for over a week, and some, like me, were left stranded due to record numbers of trees and power lines. electrical downed. We must act now.

I invite you to speak to your friends and neighbours, and to attend the public hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9e, at the Eric Rood Center in Nevada City or call 530-270-3474. You can also email us your comments at [email protected] I want to hear from everyone on August 9e.

Heidi Hall is Nevada County District 1 Supervisorwhich includes Nevada City and the unincorporated areas of Banner Mountain, Cascade Shores, Deer Creek, and the Highway 174 corridor.

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