Chief’s Corner: Keep our community lean, clean and green |

Chief’s Corner: Keep our community lean, clean and green

As we start to see and feel the change in the weather, it is time to prepare for the potential wildfire season. April showers bring May flowers. June is time to take to the rake and clean up your defensible space.

While we had a good start to the winter and a wet March, we ended the season below the yearly snowpack average. Despite the wet spring, the entire region has a substantial precipitation deficit. It is expected that there will be less beneficial runoff in the early summer, likely leading to an earlier date of critical fuel dryness at middle and high elevations. While brief periods of cool and wet weather can still be expected for June, warmer and drier conditions are slated for July. This will bring above normal fire potential for most of the region. For more fire weather forecast information, visit the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center website at:

The local fire departments rely on the homeowners and the public to help prevent life and property losses from wildland fires. We accomplish this through public cooperation and enforcement of California’s defensible space laws. The local fire departments will be out doing defensible space inspections early this year, and we encourage you to do your yard clean up sooner than later! These laws are designed to help firefighters protect your home during a wildland fire and most importantly, help your home stand alone when firefighting resources are limited. For more information on defensible space visit the Ready for Wildfire website at:

For those homeowners in Placer County, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt a new Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance, which will govern the abatement of hazardous vegetation and combustible material on both vacant and improved parcels. The new ordinance repeals and replaces the previous code and provides fire officials with consistent guidelines to ensure adequate defensible space is maintained on vacant land as well as around structures and enforcement mechanisms are in place to encourage compliance.

The Eastern Regional Landfill works with all the local agencies with Community Green Waste Drop Off Events, and some of the fire districts offer a chipping program. Contact your local fire department to find more info for your area. If you are taking down adult sized trees, keep in mind that you may be required to obtain a permit from the local or regional jurisdiction your home is in and, if you live in the Tahoe Basin, from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and/or your local fire department.

Our goal is to keep our community lean, clean and green! We want to increase public awareness so that we have another fun, smoke-free summer. So, please get your properties in compliance early this year and maintain it until the fall moisture arrives.

Allen Riley is fire chief for the Squaw Valley Fire Department.

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