Fire Safe Council begins to update Community Wildfire Protection Plan

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Executive Director Edwina Scott and President Chris Kramer of the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council, want to revise and bring the Hill’s last Community Wildfire Protection Plan up to date.

However, the plethora of fires throughout the state has made it difficult to include the local fire agencies in this effort. Nevertheless, as fall and winter approach, they hope to piggyback on a future Mountain Area Safety Taskforce meeting later this month.

The current and original CWPP took several years to prepare. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted it in July 2006. In 2010, much of the data and maps were updated.

To begin the revision, a first meeting was scheduled for Aug. 18. About 15 minutes after the proposed start, Kramer said, “Too many fire people are at fires,” although several participants from other agencies were able to attend.

MCFSC is working with Esri to prepare maps of the Hill and current project locations. The new CWPP will show where the U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire have maintained existing fuelbreaks and created new breaks in the past decade.

One use of the CWPP is to secure grant funds to help construct new fuelbreaks, Kramer emphasized. “Many grant people ask us if the CWPP has been updated within the last five years,” he stated.

Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz concurred that a current CWPP would be a practical and useful document for Hill groups. “And it is important for obtaining new grants,” he added.

Since the last CWPP, three major fires — Esperanza, Mountain and Silver — have burned thousands of acres, houses and taken lives.

As work proceeds, Scott said there will be a round of community meetings, probably three, to review the draft plan and solicit suggestions.

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