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Community must work to address fire safety

Guest Column by Barbara Green

Thank you, firefighters!

The Martis Fire was a wake-up call for all of us in the Truckee/North Tahoe area.

Although I know that it’s “Nature’s way,” I am sorry about the loss of wildlife (especially young ones) and habitat.

But we were lucky in several ways. There were no lives lost. Very few cabins were lost. The firefighters saved Floriston. We had excellent and most welcome help from all over the western United States, from the Truckee Fire Department, Forest Service, and California and Nevada divisions of forestry to all the many other agencies who came to our rescue.

We were lucky that it happened in June rather than in August when it would have burned even hotter and faster.

We were lucky that it started where it did rather than in the southern or southwest part of Truckee. Prevailing winds would have sent the fire right into Truckee. If that were to happen, your homes and your friends’ homes might be lost, and your pets and possessions – and your property values!

We still have a grave concern about erosion in the denuded Gray and Bronco creek watersheds and that implication on the Truckee River.

But the most important thing we can do, as a community, right this minute is to prepare ourselves so that, hopefully, there won’t be another fire – prevention. And we must also be prepared in case there is another fire, whether this year or next – safety.

I had started a committee with the Fire Safe Council to initiate a small prevention program of collecting and shredding pine needles in Glenshire for next fall. But now that seems like a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.

Neighbors, we have to do something now! We cannot sit around with our fingers crossed. I know that Fire Chief Mike Terwilliger has tried to do prevention programs in the past, but we have not responded.

I am calling a Town Meeting to bring us all together to discuss what we can do and how we can do it — together as a community seems the most effective and efficient way. We need to build on each others’ energy and ideas.

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

If you had to evacuate with five minutes notice, what items would you gather? Where would you go? Would your family know where to look for you? Would your children evacuate to the same location as yours? How would you get official information?

We need your input regarding an action plan for fire safety and prevention in our area. Please, everyone, come, even if only for a few minutes. Light refreshments will be served.

Barbara Green is the Nevada County Supervisor, 5th District, which includes Truckee and the eastern county.


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