A Pine Cove road clearing project is underway. The first section of work began Monday, April 27 and continued through Tuesday, April 28. Another section of work will begin Tuesday, May 5, according to Pete Coy of Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council (MCFSC). MCFSC is overseeing the project. 

Coy told the newspaper that different sections of vegetation would be cleared at a time and he broke the project down using some old Cal Fire maps that he found. He is uncertain as to when the entire project would be completed. There are at least four more sections that need to be cleared of vegetation. 

The public notice reads: “The intent of the Pine Cove Roads Project is to create better access for fire and rescue equipment during medical emergencies, residential structure and wildland forest fires. It is our intent as community stewards to provide access while also

serving the natural beauty of Pine Cove.”

Each section was put out to bid and the contractor with the lowest bid was selected to perform the clearing, Coy explained. 

Cal Fire gave input as to how large to make the cuts and clear the roads. In the first round of clearing conducted this week, Coy said that some roads did not need a lot of clearing and some needed more. The project is moving faster than expected. 

“These roads will provide safer access to the evacuation corridors and provide access to crews creating the fuel break around Pine Cove,” Opal Hellweg, legislative assistant to Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington, wrote in an email. “The project is part of the larger shaded fuel break project.”

“Hopefully what we do will last three, four or five years,” said Coy. 

Coy told the newspaper that because the roads contain easements and dedicated right-of-ways, they have to be very careful to not clear vegetation on someone’s property and that these are not county-maintained roads. 

“This is a County Service Area (CSA) 38 project and Cal Fire has input because this is about fire protection and MCFSC is the conduit for getting it done,” said Coy. “The county is reimbursing for costs.” 

Hellweg wrote in an email, “The CSA advisory committee supported the idea of providing up to $45,000 for this [project] and CSA administration has been working with MCFSC to complete the CEQA documents and now the physical clearing of the roads.”  

The project amount was increased from $45,000 to $75,000, according to the Economic Development Agency.

The roads that will be cleared beginning May 5 are: Nestwa Trail, Canyon Breeze, Sunset Drive, Rosaline Road, Meadow Road, Cedar Drive, Pine Ridge Road, Laurel Trail, Acorn Lane and Norwood Drive.