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Town meeting on fire prevention

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

With the stubborn Martis Valley Fire finally contained, but still fresh in many resident’s minds, Nevada County Fifth District Supervisor Barbara Green thinks now is the time to act.

“We have to try and do something,” she said. “Even if (we) make a few homes safer, it’s something.”

Green is concerned about the present fire situation; concerned to the point of calling a Town Hall meeting next week.

“I noticed an anxiety among people in Truckee during the Martis Fire,” she said, referring to the Martis Fire that started on June 17 and raged for over a week, burning more than 14,500 acres. “Rational thinking would have been more difficult then. If we want to develop rational thinking about fire, then we have to do it now.”

Green said she called this meeting for two reasons:

“I have a leadership role that I can use to help people. And (the Martis Fire) was a shot across the bow.”

Green said while formulating a city-wide fire prevention plan is a daunting task, neighbor fire prevention committees may be a more tangible goal.

She hopes the public will use the town meeting as a forum for creating these groups.

Green cited grants available for fire prevention and protection and insurance companies that assess a homeowners’ fire dangers as additional actions officials and residents can take to alleviate the fire danger to their homes and the community as a whole.

Green said she is also concerned about fire dangers relating to second homes, including uncleared property and the possibility of no one being home if and when a fire does occur.

Green also thinks evacuation plans need to be in place, not just for a fire, but for any natural disaster.

“If you had to evacuate, where would you go, what would you take?” Green asked.

She also hopes to address the dangers of shake roofs and pine needles.

“Is there something that can be done beside removing pine needles?” she asked.

Truckee Fire Department Chief Mike Terwilliger agreed with Green about the dangers of pine needles. He then added another concern.

“There are numerous homes in Truckee that don’t have defensible space. Some people clear, and a whole lot don’t,” he said.

Terwilliger offered additional incentives for people to clear their property.

“Defensible space gives us a place to operate safely. And it’s the law,” he said. “If there are two homes in danger, and one has defensible space and has cleared the pine needles, and the other hasn’t, we are going to try and save the one that has defensible space.”

The meeting will be held at Town Hall on Airport Road on Tuesday, July 10, from 6 to 8 p.m.


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