This year, as we emerge from a very wet winter (for a welcome change), it’s again time to make sure our property is fire abated. There is low fire danger as of now but that will change very quickly moving forward. Do not let the wet winter lull you into a sense of security when it comes to wildland fire probability. The forest will dry out all too soon.
An abundant grass crop is appearing from the deserts to the mountains. And it’s already cured in the lower deserts. This trend will follow, increasing in elevation until all of the annual grass is ready to burn.
Unfortunately for us this year, we will probably see grass continue to grow even after our first abatement inspection (Idyllwild Fire Department will begin inspecting April 15). Many homeowners only worry about passing their inspection.
However, protecting your home from wildland fire is a yearlong project, especially after a wet winter. It’s not incumbent on the fire agencies to remind you over and over again about keeping your property abated. We all need to know the standards and maintain our homes and cabins to that standard all year long!
Again last year, fires transitioned from the wildland into neighborhoods, destroying many hundreds of homes and businesses at a time, and, sadly, killing many homeowners. During extreme fire conditions, evacuation should be your only goal.
Cal Fire’s Ready-Set-Go program is a must read for all of us who live in the wildland urban interface (readyforwildfire.org/ready-set-go-campaign/). Having a plan prior to an emergency can be the difference between surviving or not.
For those who may not know, the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council stands ready to help families get their abatement done and comply with Public Resources Code 4291 (State of California fire abatement standards). We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We have two paid members — Edwina Scott, executive director, and Pete Coy, project manager. Our five-member Board of Directors is all volunteer, as is our working group — the Woodies (20 members).
MCFSC is funded through grants from the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and Riverside County Fire, as well as donations from the public and civic groups. The grants are 65/35 grants so the homeowner only pays 35 percent of the total abatement cost.
One hundred percent of the grant monies go to contractors who do the actual abatement. The 35 percent the homeowner pays and public donations go to public education (biannual newsletter and public functions) and MCFSC operating costs.
As stated earlier, Idyllwild Fire and also Cal Fire are beginning their abatement inspections soon, so your property cleanup should begin now.
If the job is too big for you or you need information, call MCFSC at 951-659-6208. Our contractors normally do not do small-yard cleanup jobs. However, if you need brush or trees removed that are fire hazards, we can assist with that. No work is done until you approve the plan and the price.
Let us start contributing to a large pile of green waste at the transfer station. We appreciate all of your efforts.