Olympic Valley Fire Protection District to start 120 acre fuel break project
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. – The Olympic Valley Fire Protection District has started work on a large-scale firebreak project that could help protect Olympic Valley from wildfire.
In November 2022, the Olympic Valley Public Service District Board of Directors approved the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which was a comprehensive look at how to protect the community from wildfire. That plan identified five major areas in the valley that could use fire prevention work.
“The big one is called OV-1, that is on the northridge of the valley and is a 120 acre shaded fuel break thinning project,” said Brad Chisholm, Fire Chief. “The project will go from the ridge to about ⅓ of the way down the ridge to reduce risk of a more catastrophic wildfire but still allow for a lower intensity fire or prescribed burning in the area.”
Chisholm added that the project area butts up to the Olympic Valley drainage and on the other side of the ridge is the Pole Creek drainage. The Forest Service is currently working on a fire prevention project at Pole Creek which will meet up with the OV1 project, giving the valley a wider fuel break area.
About a quarter of the 120 acres is owned by Placer County and the rest is privately owned.
“The project is working under Cal Fire’s Forest Fire Exemption Permit and so it is a streamlined permitting process for these fuel reduction projects,” said Jessica Asher, Program Manager & Board Secretary, OVPSD. “As part of that permit process we did work with the property owners and got their permission. Both of the land owners were super excited… so it was a really easy process working with them.”
The nearly $500,000 project is funded through a Cal Fire grant. The district has contracted with Feather River Forestry so OVFPD staff will not need to dedicate time to the project, other than administrative work.
Work on OV-1 is projected to start the first week of September and last about a month.
In addition, OVFPD has worked to clear trees along Olympic Valley Road which is the main evacuation route and was also named as one of the five areas of work in the CWPP.
The project should have minimal to no impact on traffic in the area.
To learn more about the project and other projects identified in the CWPP, visit https://www.ovpsd.org/ovfd/fuel-reduction-projects.
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