Re: Defensible space inspections, from Chief Larry Crabtree
Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Protection District (MWSPFPD) hired three temporary part time inspectors with a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant in June to conduct inspections of the 1400 residences within the districts boundaries for defensible space pursuant to California public resources code 4291.
“This is the third year we have done this,” said MWSPFPD Chief Larry Crabtree, “however this is the first year we have had funding for the inspectors.” Crabtree also trained volunteers to help with the inspections.
Taking full use of the grant funded positions, Crabtree is gathering all the data collected and “drafting a plan that can be used yearly by a volunteer group; a perpetual program with no need for funding.”
To date 996 residences have been inspected with 170 being code compliant, leaving the majority inspected non compliant.
August 2, 2016 the remainder of the initial inspections will begin and second inspections will be conducted on residences that were none compliant.
If a residence is non compliant a third time, the matter is handed over to CAL FIRE for follow-up and possible fines.
MWSPFPD has a prevention hotline set up for residents who have questions about their inspection or about defensible space, 209-586-5158.
From Blythe: As you may or may not know, I’ve been a VIP, Volunteer in Prevention Defensible Space Inspector, since it’s inception three years ago. We inspect under the guidance of Cal Fire. It’s been a great way to get to better know my big neighborhoods of Mi Wuk Village and Sugar Pine. And I’m meeting more neighbors. This year, with the three temporary part time paid employees we are going out five days per week, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which includes time for the paperwork. I do this as a volunteer because I need to ‘put my money where my mouth is’. I want to see properties as cleaned up of pine needles and ladder fuels (from the ground to the tree tops) as possible because I want our community to be as safe as possible. I love where I live full time.
The saddest thing I see as we’re checking out properties is empty lots that are a mess. A dumping ground for debris. Unfortunately, the owners of these lots are not responsible for keeping them safe for the community and their neighbors. Tuolumne County has no requirements for them to rake out those pesky pine needles and limb up their trees. Some homeowners rake the needles from their property and pile them in the empty lot they own next door.
Suggestion: (1) Get a few neighbors together and write a neighborly letter to the offending neighbor asking ‘him/her’ to become fire safe and to clean up their empty lot–especially of the pine needles they’ve dumped there. (2) Contact our District 3 Supervisor, Evan Royce*, and ask him to get this much needed item on the agenda and to then get it passed. It’s important for all of us and arrogant of offending property owners to ignore their responsibility as property owners. Tuolumne County is the only county in the area to not have such an ordinance.
Phone: (209) 533-5521
Fax: (209) 533-6549
OK, off my soapbox.
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