Nevada County fire plan could be costly |

Nevada County fire plan could be costly

NEVADA CITY – Costs will decide how quickly Nevada County’s Fire Plan is implemented, according to the county executive overlooking its development.

The five-year plan is “admirable but somewhat ambitious and costly,” according to Steve DeCamp, director of the county’s community development agency.

Speaking before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, DeCamp said his agency is trying to assign costs to recommendations in the plan to see how expensive it might be. The supervisors could implement plan recommendations as funds become available, DeCamp said.

The cost estimates will be included in the final draft of the fire plan, which is slated to be discussed at the April 8 board meeting. Language in the plan could be approved or rejected at the meeting, DeCamp said.

Here is a list of recommendations DeCamp said would cost the county if implemented as part of the fire plan:

– Develop evacuation road standards and have the supervisors find ways to fund improvements for roads that don’t measure up.

– Identify hazard areas that could produce large wildfires and get grant funds to deal with them.

– Increase the county roadside vegetation treatment program to 10 percent of the road system every year, instead of 6 percent, to reduce the thinning cycle to every 10 years instead of every 17 years.

– Create a countywide system of strategically placed water tanks for fire protection.

– Create an automated system for emergency public notifications.

– Find permanent funding for the county Fire Safe Council’s chipping program and services.

– Establish a biomass center through the Fire Safe Council to turn the chips into monetary gain. The council tried before, but had to give a grant back when it could not find a location.

– Hold workshops on the benefits of fire-resistant building materials. The Nevada County Contractors Association already has said the county should worry more about clearing fuels around houses than what the houses are built of.

– Establish an official Fire Marshall’s Office. The county has an interim fire marshal on loan from the state, and some fire departments in the area have their own.

– Get financial aid for landowners who can’t afford to clear their property of excess brush.

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